A few weeks ago I decided that my bad old dial-up was wasting my time and money… I’d spend 45 minutes downloading 10 emails – mainly because my modem kept disconnecting every 10 minutes, and when it was connected it was kinda slow.
So I looked at my alternatives… ADSL, MyWireless, and iBurst. My phone bills were about R400 per month, and my ISP costs me about R75 per month. My wife and I are meant to be trying to call my mom and her gran who live in Belgium and England respectively. So we could easily add another R100 to that bill, and with VOIP, that R100 would drop to under R5. The total so far for using the current telkom line and dial-up is R575. Not having the cash to spend on a modem, I decided to take a 24 month contract which includes a free modem.
I like the idea of a wireless connection because then I could use it at work and home… and my impression of iBurst’s coverage is that its pretty good. A friend of mine has iBurst and he’s had some amazing download speeds so I was pretty sold on the idea of using them, but I did a quick spreadsheet totalling how much I’d spend over two years on each of the options. The cheapest was Sentech’s MyWireless 128kbps, next was iBurst (R1100 more expensive than Sentech), and since my friend had gotten > 128kbps on iBurst pretty regularly (in fact he was doing 384kbps regularly), I thought I’d try them.
I looked into various resellers, and compared them to getting the deal directly from iBurst. Most of the resellers have SHOCKING websites, and non-existant response to queries. However, I found out that FusionReactor offered it with only R100 startup, as opposed to iBurst’s R465 startup cost. I also noticed that they seem to be one of the biggest Cold Fusion development houses in South Africa, and that iBurst’s online ordering system was done in Cold Fusion (or at least in Macromedia based technologies). So I e-mailed them a query through their site and they responded in under 10 minutes with a phone call to answer my questions. I eventually found out that they’d been involved with iBurst for a while and had developed/implemented some of their support systems, so they’re pretty tightly linked into the iBurst backend systems. So that was enough to reassure me that they’re not some fly-by-night crowd.
I filled out my forms and faxed them off, and in just over 24 hours the iBurst terminal was delivered to my office (in Centurion). I was REALLY impressed, very few companies that I’ve dealt with are that fast with ANYTHING, and very few are as kind, friendly and quick to respond to customer queries. I was very happy. 😀
With only partial coverage in our office (30-50% signal), I got about 12-15kByte per second downloads, which is WAAAAAY faster than my usual work connection. Since using it at work wasn’t my main priority, I’m ok with that… But using it at home was another story… I have 95-100% signal strength, but only 6-8kBytes per second download speed. Unfortunately for me, I’m connecting to a base station which is “faulty” and is being repaired (should be fixed by Saturday)…
Today I read that Telkom has now suddenly dropped the price of their ADSL lines, so if the speed is not fixed by Monday I might have to reconsider my decision to go with iBurst – the Telkom HomeDSL 194 might be a better option, but I’ll miss the mobility. I really hope iBurst fixes the speed on the base stations I connect to at home, because I’d hate to lose the nice connection I can get at work…