Polka, one of South Africa’s branded ISPs, are offering “ADSL including line rental”, with a “free modem” from R199pm. For starters the package only includes one gigabyte with no local bandwidth. I questioned a telesales person about the one gig cap and she then put me through to MWEB, who have a similar deal with unlimited local bandwidth. All good and fine, except for the fact that to get the unlimited local bandwidth from MWEB, the line rental would first have to be acquired from Telkom, I thought it prudent therefore to stick with Polka, but it would seem the hairy mammoths who run MWEB, Telkom and Polka, have other plans.
First off, I received an application form which requested I supply a “pots number”. I was then told that this referred to a voice line. Next they wanted to sell me on a “regular voice service” from Telkom for the unbelievable sum of R199.
I explained that I did not want to pay double, get two bills, or spend R400 nor had I use for such a voice service, since my voice service was already with Vodacom. No deal. They insist that line rental means rental of the data line and this data line “has to have a voiceline service from Telkom,” attached to it.
There you have it, outright fraud. Imagine ordering a cap from a company that insists on selling you a pot? This is more than a case of confusion in terms, but the result of public policy which sees Telkom as the primary stakeholder in the cable business. Imagine if the same thing happened in wireless. Sure you can have the modem from your friendly wireless operator, but since the signals are being routed from company Z, you will have to cough-up an extra fee for the privilege of receiving wireless signals in the comfort of your own home from Y pole, that would mean, paying an additional amount for the privilege of mobility. Each time you phone moves to another base station, ditto, extra charge. Lets just milk the consumer.
Telkom needs to get out of the cable business. It is strangling local competition and forcing the consumer to accept sub-standard service and low bandwidth, data rates. Think about the amount of information one gets via a satellite dish? For about the same amount as the R199 line rental one can get non-stop 24hour a day entertainment via DSTV.
Any wonder the MWEB moron is not interested in providing consumers with DSL service? Perhaps it has to do with plans to bamboozle us with the next big way to fleece the consumer – High Definition Television.