Seacom problems

Or the alternate title of “Why your inability to access international content is your ISP’s fault, and not Seacom’s”
Or “Why your cheap-as-chips residential ADSL Broadband account is broken, and why I don’t care”

I could go on with all the complaints that I’ve heard over the last 24 hours, and all the stupid reasoning behind those complaints. But I won’t. I’ll try and be helpfully informative.

So we’ll start with the facts:

  • Seacom is one of the Submarine fiber cables that connect South Africa to Europe.
  • There are other ways out of South Africa to Europe, that do not rely on Seacom.
  • Residential ADSL users are quite far down the list of priorities for most ISP’s.
  • Business users on leased lines account for significantly more income than ADSL users.
  • You get what you pay for.

Your choice of ISP should take all of these facts into account:

  • Does your ISP have multiple international circuits?
  • Are these circuits physically diverse (ie: not the same cable).
  • Are you actually paying for a service that will make use of the backup circuits in the event of a failure?

Chances are, unless you have a leased line service, and you pay something in the region of R20000 a month for it, you will be affected by the Seacom problems.

It would be incredibly naive of any ISP to expect that a single upstream provider will be up 100% of the time. Seacom do not promise a 100% uptime, so how can you expect that level of service if you rely solely on them?

The solution for the ISPs? Use one of those other forms of international connectivity. Such as the SAT3-SAFE cable. Sure, thats expensive, so only use that for your “premium” customers. Like those guys paying R20000+ a month for their leased lines. They’ll get what they pay for.

And that there, is the difference between the R900 you pay a month for 4mbit ADSL, and R20000 per month for 4mbit leased line.

You get what you pay for.

Truth hurts

The ex-Minister of Telecommunications in South Africa died last week.

Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, better known as Poison Ivy, was the topic of a few of my rants in the past.

She was really good at stuffing things up, and then starting legal procedures against anyone who tried to fix it. I think she’s the first true example of the “If it aint fixed, don’t fix it, sleep instead” mindset.

Government released their own tribute to her, which ignores all her failings.

So it was left to some more objective people to come up with a fitting tribute.

Civil Disobedience

I like the sound of that… Civil Disobedience.

Its not quite what the Jawug guys were going for, but it seems to describe it quite well.

Just a bunch of guys, building their own telecommunication network for fun. They’re not hurting anyone, they’re not causing any trouble, and they’re not stealing from anyone.

The Jawug network has grown alot since I left South Africa, and I’m incredibly proud of what its been up to in the past year.
Now, there’s a Wug.za.net, which covers the whole of South Africa, and even Namibia!

Keep it up guys!

What is the South African Government thinking?

Okay… Someone explain to me what the rationale behind this latest idea is?

Some parliment seat warmers have proposed to make all visitors to the country register with the government (passport in hand) before being allowed access to the Cellular networks to make calls, even if they have a roaming agreement in place with their home provider.

Where’s the logic in that?
Hello, welcome to the World Cup. No you wont be able to make any phonecalls, until you (and thousands of other visitors) have popped in to register.

Next, they’ll be proposing a R308 million (pronounced R411 million), to look after registrations.

Whats wrong… is passport control not enough?