ADSL users in South Africa have long been moaning and complaining about the lack of forward-thinking on the part of our telecommunications parastatal (Telkom) in terms of getting broadband speeds more up to par with our international counterparts. It seemed that they were quite hellbent on making subscribers pay through their noses, ears, and any other bodily orifices for what could be deemed as a “fast” internet connection – which, in the case of the bulk of South African users, would have been the 10mb line offering.
Up until even recently, a home user wanting a 10mb uncapped internet solution would pay R425pm rental for the line rental alone, then further squeezed by ISP’s who could charge up to as much as R599pm for the privilege of having an uncapped account. Even then, the possibility of the line speed being throttled due to excessive downloading/streaming would always be imminent. Although the wealthy few could quite easily afford it, sometimes even going for the “Elite” DSL packages offered by Telkom (R795pm for a 40mb line; only available in limited areas as part of an initial rollout phase), the general consensus has always been that the cost to stay connected has always been slightly out of the reach of the average Joe.
We live in an age where being connected has become part of our lifestyles; with smartphones, iPads, laptops and other devices taking centre stage in the way we communicate with each other and conduct business. Therefore, it would stand to reason that being connected (whether it be at home, the office, or the local coffee shop’s wifi hotspot) would be mandatory. Thankfully though, Telkom have heard our collective pleas and moans, and have responded accordingly.
Earlier on this year, they rolled out an initial line upgrade phase, where users experienced great joy and delight when their line speeds were kicked up a level. The 384k/512k users got the benefit of the 1mb entry-line offering, whilst existing 1mb line users got pushed up to 2mb lines, etc. Now, in a new announcement, Telkom has promised to yet again increase the minimum line speed from 1mb up to 2mb, more in line with international standards. Therefore logically, the rest of the line speeds will be experiencing an upgrade – and the really good news about this is, that MWEB, one of the most popular ISP’s in the South African market, has also agreed to upgrade their existing uncapped customer accounts accordingly – at no additional charge to the client.
Between November of this year and February next year, Telkom ADSL subscribers can expect to have their lines upgraded. The dates are as follows:
- 4mb lines –> 10mb: 11 November – 18 December 2013
- 2mb lines –> 4mb: 18 November – 23 December 2013
- 1mb lines –> 2mb: 15 January 2014 – 28 February 2014
This is certainly good news for all DSL subscribers – finally, South Africa’s telecommunications infrastructure is starting to get up to speed. The next thing we should all hope and pray for, is fibre optic lines in every home… Who knows, maybe Telkom will hear the nation!