Wednesday, October 12, 2005

IBurst a vein - In the beginning there was a monopoly


Changing from the Telkom monopoly, to a cheaper alternative is not without it's own set of problems.

This is the first in a series of blogs on this subject See Number 2 "I am Committed"

A week ago I decided to sign up with a reseller of the IBurst wireless Internet service. This was mainly because of Telkom's ridiculous costs. I will, in the next Blog, detail the arduous road to better bandwidth with IBurst, but first I will explain the selection process I followed.

I use my Internet connection to download large and small files. From 4GB DVD image files of Linux Distro's to small utilities from I use my Connection for surfing, Online gaming and to do VoIP chats with friends ("Ha!" I hear them say ).

Money on the line.
Cost is the main criteria, and then connection speed and stability. I started with a 64Kb ISDN connection and increased that to 128Kb/s to accommodate the demands of two PC's browsing the Net simultaneously while throttled downloads were churning in the background. The costs of dialing in using ISDN every day started becoming a burden. Line rental, ISP costs, and R15 for every day Monday to Saturday amount to between R1000 to R1200 depending on whether I forgot to disconnect the link before 7AM. For those non South Africans wondering why I would need to disconnect before 7AM, we still pay for local calls and it's simply cheaper between 7PM and 7AM.

ADSL is a bridge too far.
I requested an ADSL connection from Telkom because the cost of a 192Kb/s ADSL connection is absolutely the cheapest option over 2 years (total cost) followed closely by IBurst. Luckily the telephone exchange supported the ADSL technology, but unlucky for me the maximum limit from the Exchange to the Modem, according to Telkom, is 5KM. Guess how far I am from the exchange? 5.1KM.... can you believe it? So ADSL is out the window.

IBurst a vein
After waiting for IBurst to roll out their service in my area, I started researching the pro's and cons:
Pro: Relatively cheap monthly cost, R469 for 1GB of data per Month.
Pro: 1Mb/s bandwidth (dependent on distance and line-of-sight)
Con: Not a very stable connection. For online gaming etc.
Con: Expensive initial financial layout. Between R3000-R4000.
Con: Technical knowledge required. (I'm just waiting for IBurst or Tradepage to ask why... grrr)

I decided to use Tradepage as the reseller because they had a 7 day opt-out period where they would refund the full amount if I was not happy. I had considered Hi Fi Corporation as an option but they would not test the signal for me to see if IBurst was viable. WBS aka IBurst repeatedly stated that the resellers must provide the service of testing the signal, but all the resellers repeatedly said that they would not. So armed with my own technical knowledge and the 7 day opt-out period, I took the plunge.

I still haven't cancelled my ISDN. Read my next blog to experience the pain of setting up your own IBurst connection.


At 9:38 AM, Blogger Derek Walker said...

Hey Bud, where's the next blog, can't wait to see what you say.


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