Imagine having to pay R152 in tax every month, to a quasi-government organisation that claimed it was providing services in return. Imagine if you were already paying for this service and merely wanted to make use of the infrastructure. Would you pay R152 a month merely for the OPPORTUNITY to access the internet? If you were of sound mind and body probably not, but in the weird deformed State we call South Africa, consumers are being taxed to death.
If ever there was a case for deregulation of the market then this is it – Telkom the parastatel with an iron grip over the fixed line rental market is ripping off consumers to the tune of R 100 million a year, simply because it is allowed to charge a premium to connect to third-party data services. Whatever the consumer is already paying for line rental doubles once one gets onto the Net. The telco demands a R152 monthly fee to complete a circuit that is already supplied on all Adsl enabled home lines. That’s right, simply for the opportunity to connect to a third party in order to access data services, the company charges an additional fee that is extorted from consumers in a weird shifting of the buck that results in you getting screwed.
In an effort to find a better deal and make use of the 100 or so service providers out there providing data, I purchased an ADSL modem/router. Turns out, in order to use this router, Telkom demand a R152pm fee. Same line, but your got to cough-up regardless. So, what should be a R70pm a Gig outlay, turns into R220pm making the R199 Do offering attractive for some. Why should I have to shell out R500 month to enjoy data services? Once you take into account the initial line rental (R160), the whole fixed line business starts to look stupid. Any wonder, Telkom is also in the wireless business and pushing a technology in competition to fixed line?
So there you have it – South Africa’s Information Superhighway sucks because the consumer gets screwed no matter what.