Internet access: peace at last?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I had had been having major problems with my Internet connection.

These started when my bandwidth was stolen, for the second time, and I had to go through the process of contacting Telkom to report the problem and ask what to do. It was admitted that someone had used my account to access the Internet from a different location, but that the police would need to get a court order to force them to reveal just who had committed the filthy deed.

Shutting up and buying more bandwidth was the only practical option and so I got through to the accounts section to arrange it. This took place on 11 June and I ordered an additional 2Gb at a cost of R130.70 (excl.) and I was angered, not surprised, to hear that I would be billed each month for the extra bandwidth until I cancelled it.

And so things rested until my bill arrived and I found that I had been billed for the extra bandwidth from the 15 May – 14 June and again from 15 June – 14 July. I saw red and no matter how reasonably I tried to explain to the person on the other end of the line, he just would not accept that I might have grounds for complaint, having just been billed a full month’s fee for three days usage.

I did later receive a credit for the extra amount but, by that stage, I had had enough of Telkom and its crappy attitude to its customers. I remembered a friend in low places telling me about an ISP who would sell you bandwidth on a pay-as-you-use basis and that it was what he did when he ran out of bandwidth on his Telkom account.

He told me that you can buy, say, 2Gb of bandwidth and use it whenever you need it and that it remains valid for 6 months after you first use it. That sounded great to me and I had great pleasure in telling Telkom that I would not be requiring their services as an ISP in future.

Before I tell you what I did next, however, I just want to stress that it has worked very well for me but that your results may vary and I won’t ever be held responsible etc., etc.. I went to www.axxess.co.za signed up for 3Gb of bandwidth on their ADSL Now package at a cost of R209.

The sign-up was easy and was followed shortly afterwards by a very pleasant surprise when Brad, from Axxess, phoned to check that it was really me that had used my credit card. This was at about 9pm and later, at about 11pm, I was trying to get through to my Axxess control panel and not having any success.

I phoned the company again and was amazed when the phone was answered within a minute and the consultant told me what to do. They seem to place value on serving their customers, unlike others I can name!

The control panel tells you how much bandwidth you’ve got left and is where you go to top up your account. Crucially, it also offers you the chance of switching on an IP lock, which prevents anyone using your account from a different location.

Going over to Axxess, or another ISP, is easy and it involves signing up with the new ISP and plugging the username and password they give you into your DSL Router. You can then cancel your ISP account with Telkom but you should stress that you still want the ADSL line. Bear in mind that you will lose your Telkom e-mail address but you can get an Axxess package that includes e-mail; I didn’t have to because I now use web-based mail.

I signed up with Axxess on 13 July and, by 23 July, I had still had 2,46Gb left before I would have to log in again and buy more bandwidth. I am not committed to any contract and can move on at a moment’s notice if a better deal comes up.

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3 thoughts on “Internet access: peace at last?

  1. Very interesting article. I only wish they had an office in Durban so we could talk person to person. 99% sure that I will sign up.

  2. Dear Allan,
    After reading your article I did send them an email and asked them to give me more information or a contact in Durban, as I am not a great friend of the telephone and hard of hearing in the first place. I am still waiting for a reply. Either they are too busy or not interested.
    Alf

  3. Hi Alf. E-mail is not the most reliable means of communication because it sometimes doesn’t get to its destination and sometimes people don’t reply. Like you, I tended to favour dealing with people I could go and talk to but the benefit of the Internet is not being limited to dealing with locals. I’m getting used to it and, in the case of Axxess, it has worked for me. I took the chance and signed up online on the basis that there was no contract. But, if you still feel wary, I have friends who are happy with SAOL (at http://www.saol.com) and Tradepage.

    One reservation I have with your situation is that, unless you’re fairly expert, I think it might be difficult to change the connection settings on your computer if you are unable to get someone to talk you through the process on the phone.

    I don’t know if you know but Telkom does sell a very reasonably-priced phone with a volume control intended for the hard-of-hearing. I think it’s called Big Keys (or something) and is available from any of their shops.

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