Unchanged exchange

As if the constant rain, cold temperatures and miserable grey sky wasn’t enough today, I have just learned that my internet connectivity here at Chez 6000 is so slow because the local exchange simply can’t handle the amount of traffic going through it. Thus, while paying for a 4Mbps line, I’m generally very lucky to get 500kbps. And that’s a bit rubbish to say the least.

When SEACOM landed and when I got the 4Mbps line, I did think that we were beginning to approach some sort of semblance of First World connectivity.
How wrong I was.

Of course, all parties involved (save for me) are protected from any liability for this, thanks to the convenient (but standard – I’m not blaming Afrihost for this) “best effort” service clause in the terms and conditions:

Due to the fact that Telkom cannot guarantee the bandwidth throughput achieved when subscribers access the Internet utilising a DSL access line, Afrihost can likewise also not offer such a guarantee.

Interestingly, paying R200 less per month for a 1Mbps connection gives me around 350kbps. Slower, and arguably even more frustrating, sure, but with an extra R200 to spend on Carling Black Label, it might work out better overall.

The fact is that the exchange in question will definitely not be upgraded this financial year and there’s no guarantee when, if ever, it will be upgraded. Any alternative, not using Telkom lines (and therefore the same exchange) seems prohibitively expensive. Decent speed uncapped wireless offerings come in at a hefty R819pm, plus a R2000 set up fee.

If anyone has any brilliant ideas, or a money tree that they’re willing to lend me, please get in touch.

All in all, it’s pretty depressing, and if it’s holding me back, heaven only knows how the local SMEs are coping.


This is how things should be – how they are supposed to work. I’m currently surfing on my parents’ wifi with an average speed of 44753kbps. This is well over 44.753 times faster than I have ever achieved on my home wifi, which, up until now, seemed pretty nippy when compared to what I had before I upgraded to the “up to” 1Mbps service I routinely use back on Cape Town.

Actually, to be fair, my home wifi is still pretty nippy when compared to that, but it’s completely amazed me to see how responsive my tablet and phone can be when allowed to play freely on the internet. Information is just there. Bang. There’s no such thing as buffering on YouTube videos. And I even had to play catchup with Flickr when uploading the latest batch of photos earlier today. Usually, I go away for a coffee or to watch a footy match or something while they upload. Today, they were there before I’d even put them there (or something).

First World Problems, I know, but suddenly it all makes sense, and it has made me realise what things can be like and how it is holding us back in SA. And it’s going to seem like dialup speeds when I get back…