Last week Telkom started upgrading its 4Mb/s customers to 8 and 10Mb/s respectively. Those in areas that had ADSL2+ exchanges that had been upgraded or built on Vodacom’s metro Ethernet network woke up on Monday happily surprised at their new speedtest results.

We assume that Telkom will eventually upgrade it’s 384 and 512 subscribers. Those will receive a boost this year, but no information has come to light about how much it will improve. 384 could move up to 512, and 512 could go up to anything near 4Mb/s. Hell, I’m on a 3G connection, and I still get better speeds than either of those two*.

*If you can really call it better, that is.

My beef with Telkom these days is the long wait. We’re ranked so far down the ladder in terms of average speeds that we don’t even register a blip on the radar of the top 10 countries with the fastest connection in the world, and it’s all thanks to “South Africa’s Leading Telecommunications Provider”. Yeah, you’re forgetting that you’re the only one, jackass. We’re being fed scraps of the potential that Telkom has, and they’re perfectly satisfied sitting there and making us pay heaps for a connection that  would cost the same as a good meal out. And do they still think we’re blind?

I don’t pretend to understand the nuances of running such a large enterprise the size of Telkom, but there are some numbers that I think are applicable here.

In South Africa around 5,300,000 people are connected to the Internet as of a 2009 survey, over 1.5million which use ADSL. Thanks to the line speed upgrades, it has been revealed that 19,400 users on the 4Mb/s lines are due for an upgrade at the moment, the equivalent of 2.9% of the entire 4Mb/s ADSL subscriber base. And it’s only for those who sync at near full speed.

Cheap bandwidth does kinda help, but it's not helping. Urdoinitwrong!


I had a huge argument planned about how easily Telkom could afford to upgrade everyone, what with all the riches they’ve been accumulating over the years (apparently they’re going broke now, eh?) but I realize I’m just farting against thunder; I mean, what could I achieve here, one solitary technical writer on the NAG Online block? It begs the question as to what the other 4Mb/s users who don’t even sync at 3Mb/s will be getting in the long term. Stability? Full Sync speed? Lower prices? Or will they suffer as they always have, paying for double the service that they’re actually getting?

I’ve never been one to defend Telkom, and I’m absolutely not going to become one who does either. They need to catch a wake-up and see that the rest of the world has progressed far beyond what they’ve achieved here. Perhaps the impending leadership change might do some good, but I’m not holding my breath. Telkom only jumps when it wants to impress other countries, it seems, so what does that say about its loyalty to the userbase?

Oh, right. Food for thought.