Monday, 14 January 2008

there's a hole in my packet, dear iBurst, dear iBurst

The conversation is so old, it's actually boring now. I've heard it so many times, and I'm actually as tired of hearing it as I am experiencing it. The age old how we in South Africa get inferior product/service for inflated costs. Often, there are also no redeeming factors! What I mean is, when I buy a Sony I expect a high standard of quality. Thats with Sony, but with our local business, very often we pay a premium for rubbish. And I believe it's only because we are starved for choice.

My gripe today is with iBurst. And with Eskom. And with the municipality. The story starts with Eskom. I'm still not sure whether it's called load shedding or load sharing. The latter makes more sense to me but I've heard both and so kind of mumble the last word to avoid embarrassment: "load sh (mumble) ing". So, just after 10 today it happens again at my home-office.... "hmm, darn, work from coffee shop" I think to myself as I head off towards Kyalami. Ofcouse, once again I forget to take the alternative route and I'm forced to use the road that hasn't been maintained in over a year and it falling apart... Literally, I could close my eyes and think I'm in Mozambique! Thats a bit dangerous for the other drivers, so eyes open I avoid the potholes (some places more of the road is a large pothole than road)... Now I know why most people in jhb drive a 4x4 - they're only avoiding ruining their cars on the roads. After a morning at the coffee shop I head back to my home, power having been returned, load sh___ing over. Fire up good old iBurst... well, not so good.

I encounter the signal I've grown used to - one little dot on my modem. I struggle to even send out an email. Everything is slow, slower than dial-up... First, a bit of history. When I first got iBurst, I had about 100%-95% signal, all the time (five little green dots). Then, after about 8 months, this all changed drastically, and I've had consistently poor signal for the most part (one to two little dots), except some weekend I get a "burst" of good signal. I have contacted iBurst about this before. I was told there was interference because of buildings, or sun spots, or some koalas nesting on the antennas or something. Anyhoo, pretty much there's nothing they can (or want to) do about it. And no, they can't send me some more replacement little green dots.

Honestly, the connection is so bad that when I try an SVN commit to the server (read: sending 3 text files) - it times out and corrupts the synchronisation of the project.

So, after intense and ongoing frustration (did I mention I'm trying to run a business) - I email them and tell them I'm fed up and want to stop my service. I mention that I suspect saturation being the cause of my frustration with them. I literally pour my heart out into this mail... Hoping them to reply after looking into the matter. Or at least to reply saying they might maybe on a good day, if there's nothing else to do... consider maybe perhaps looking into it.. maybe. Nothing. No reply. Maybe they did reply, but they also can't send mails out because of their connections problems!

I know that this is a local regional problem, because my connection in Somerset West was flying! Though, I imagine that to be because the 5 other people on the Somerset West network weren't downloading at the time!

That being said, I've decided to take this matter to my fan-base. (See Flight of the Concords to understand that one). What I'm afraid of is leaving iBurst for an even poorer experience with Telkom (I've heard the stories), because then I'll be dealing with one of the big stuff-up buzzwords of Afrique du Sud.
Hmm, let's hope I can post this without timing out... pfff.

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