Amid a looming broadband price war in South Africa, OpenWeb CEO Keoma Wright says that unscrupulous ISPs derive their profit from throttling the living daylights out of their clients.
The Minister of Communications, Yunus Carrim, recently met with the Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), and urged all parties to work together to cut communications costs in South Africa.
Wright noted that the broadband market is becoming ever more competitive and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are now offering packages like never before.
In the ADSL arena, an increasing number of providers are promising unshaped ADSL for next to nothing.
Wright says with ADSL you pay for what you get. “The less you pay, the less bandwidth you will ultimately be able to use on the network.”
As Telkom controls the price of ADSL in South Africa, private ISPs have had to come up with creative ways to offer a good service and derive a small profit. “Unfortunately, some unscrupulous ISP’s derive their profit from throttling the living daylights out of their clients,” Wright said.
“When a client complains, they simply point them to section 65215411544 million A to Z in their 74th Amended Acceptable Usage Policy stating that throttling is a way of life, take it or leave it,” he said.
He warns unsuspecting consumers to read the fine print before signing any ADSL contract.
“Be careful, the catch is in the fine print. What many ISPs advertise as Unshaped, more than likely comes with a complicated, draconian style Fair Usage Policy hidden deep within the realms of their Terms of Service.”
Wright said that throttling is ridiculous. “My advice is to leave throttling, one can rather shape heavy downloads during peak periods, yet still offer a great service on browsing and similar.”
Some ISPs even shape and throttle capped accounts. When clients purchase capped accounts, they already have one limit imposed – the cap. Why must further limits be imposed? Capped should be completely unshaped, he said.
“It is your bandwidth, you have a right to use it as and when you please,” Wright said.
He noted that ADSL is still cheaper than mobile data and is much more reliable. Whilst gaming on mobile is nearly impossible due to jitter, lag, latency and other technical challenges, fixed line Internet works better for streaming, gaming VoIP and a number of other protocols.
“When was the last time you saw a truly Uncapped Unshaped Mobile data deal? Never. ADSL might look more expensive, but when you total up what you get, ADSL is still a much better offering overall,” Wright said.