SA free bandwidth campaign launched

By   |  May 31, 2007

A new campaign to highlight Telkom’s local capping non-compliance has been launched at http://www.fbc.org.za.

In a statement this week the campaign organisers said: “Stand up for your Internet rights with the Free Bandwidth Campaign. Demand your right to free local Internet. Act on 30 June 2007 to force Telkom to obey the laws of South Africa just like any other responsible corporate citizen.”

The campaign centers around the fact that Telkom is not supposed to be allowed to limit the amount of local traffic users view.

In the statement FBC said: “Did you know that your monthly bandwidth allocation is legally not supposed to include local traffic? According to regulations promulgated in terms of the Electronic Communications Act of 2005, all local bandwidth must be provided free to ADSL users.

“The local bandwidth regulation was gazetted as Notice 1112 of 2006, and clearly defines ‘Local Bandwidth Usage to mean data that can be transferred from South African based Internet Protocol addresses’. Most importantly, Notice 1112 clearly states that local bandwidth usage shall not be subject to any cap’. But ADSL users are all too well aware that when their monthly cap is reached, their internet connection is effectively switched off.

“The bandwidth regulations go on to state that ‘Telkom, SNO [second national operator] and ISPs shall inform subscribers, at least on a weekly basis, of their bandwidth usage until the monthly cap has been reached’. If local bandwidth is being counted as part of your monthly cap, you are being cheated out of your legal right to access local internet.

“Telkom claims its network cannot support the traffic of all ADSL users who are entitled to free local bandwidth. But the wildly profitable company has a local infrastructure paid for many times over by taxpayers already and made R6-billion in profit last year alone. If it doesn’t have the capacity, it has no excuse not to invest in it. If Telkom does not have the capacity or invest, how will it be ready to provide network capacity for the 2010 Soccer World Cup?

Taking action
The FBC is planning a campaign to highlight this issue on June 30.

“No longer are you helpless to do anything about this appalling situation. The Free Bandwidth Campaign www.fbc.org.za is giving you the chance to put Telkom to the test. By downloading the Free Bandwidth testing software which will be available soon, your computer will act for you at midday, 30 June 2007. It will connect to local sites and download as much local content as possible, in unison with the machines of thousands of concerned Netizens around the country.

“It will put Telkom’s network to the test and prove whether or not Telkom can meet the needs of the people it is supposed to serve. It will throw open to the world the capacity and capability of Telkom’s network with results which will be collected and published. After the test, the programme will uninstall itself automatically, leaving no footprint on your computer.”

The organisation said that the reason for the campaign are that “local bandwidth charges are working against the country’s priorities as outlined by the president.

“It is a developmental stumbling block. Australia, with a population of 20.9 million, launched ADSL in 1997. Free local bandwidth has encouraged far greater adoption of the service; with no local charges, users were quick to set up internet servers on their home computers, for online gaming, file transfer, or self-hosted web sites. The result is that with the massive growth in usage, costs went from very high to very affordable in a short space of time. It has 3.1m DSL users. South Africa has a population of 47.4m. We only have 203,700 DSL users.”

“Stop Telkom milking us, the internet user, for profit. It’s time to Free Bandwidth and ‘cut the cap’,” the organisation says.

Comments

One Response to “SA free bandwidth campaign launched”

  1. patrick
    July 16th, 2007 @ 12:00 am

    While I don\’t deny that we should have free and uncapped local bandwidth, I believe the ECT act only stipulates \”uncapped local bandwidth\”.

    This means that Telkom (or any other ISP) is actually within its rights to charge for local bandwidth, which they are doing by \”capping it\” or including it within their 3Gb/month cap.

    If they make it unlimited (which they haven\’t) they could charge you whatever they wanted, or on a per megabit basis and not break the ECT stipulation(s).

    At this point in time, it\’s a no-win situation until the government ammends the ECT act and Telkom gets its act together, or, we get a decent SNO that will actually compete with Telkom rather than just abusing the SA economy the same way Telkom has all these years.

    End of the day, for the consumer, the best solution would be a complete de-regulation and privatisation of the South African networks, but that\’s just not on the cards at the moment.

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