Amazing news coming in from the UK, is that there is actually a place – placeS, in fact – in the UK which have a slower broadband connection than me. What sort of a godforsaken, Fourth World backwater are we talking about here?
Well, Kent actually. Home to illegal immigrants, the Neanderthal residents of Maidstone and an
ex-girlfriend of mine. Three good reasons (amongst many others) to avoid the place.
And it’s not just a bit slower, either:
Research by broadband comparison website Top10.com found that Railway Hill in Barnham, Kent, had an average download speed of just 0.13Mb per second.
And when I (eventually) got a result from speedtest.net this evening, it was this:
Whoosh, it ain’t – unless you happen to be a Railway Hill resident, then you’ve never seen anything quite this fast before: “Moy Goodnars!” (Note the retracted first element and slight monophthongisation of PRICE vowel there – that’s Kent for you.)
Let me be honest here, I could get faster if I wanted. But it would cost a lot of money – an extra R300 a month on top of the R300 I’m already paying for this digital equivalent of amputee tortoises sleepwalking through cold molasses. And so while I had to ask myself whether it was worth paying twice as much to get a speed which is still only around one fifth the UK average, I replied to myself with a firm no.
Broadband is hugely expensive here in SA. It’s a luxury and I’m grateful to have it, but I’m paying through the nose for it as well. For only slightly more than I’m paying for my service, my parents are getting 30 Mb/s, which is shortly to be upgraded (at no extra cost to them) to 40Mb/s. For the non-mathematicians amongst you: yes, that’s 100 times faster download speed than I’m on here. And included in that package is phone line rental and a fair few (most?) phone calls as well.
It’s frustrating that even as prices start to come down and speeds start to go up here, we still find ourselves lagging (no pun intended) further and further behind the “developed” nations.
But then I look at it like this – perhaps, in a way, I’ve traded in affordable, super-fast internet access for Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch and the Constantia Wine Route; for late night dips in the pool and for Castle Milk Stout and Carling Black Label. And while I might only be able to manage a measly 0.43Mb/s; while it might take me 2 months to download a movie, things could be worse.
Because when I open my curtains tomorrow, I’m not going to be looking at Kent.
Glass half full?
Glass brimming, methinks.