The joys of SA bandwidth limitations and false advertising

After averaging 40-50gb a month thanks to buying games on Steam and PSN, watching HD video on gametrailers/TED/university lectures, etc. I decided that paying R580 for 10gb through Allyoucaneat.co.za was a bit much and went in search of the mythical uncapped account we hear of being available in developed countries.

After reading many good reports on Web Africa and finding their DSL Data Uncapped Express offering I pounced on the opportunity. A 512kbps line speed with a threshold of 30gb in a ten day window sounds marvellous. After all, that means I can use just under 90gb in a month at the full line rate, and if I go over 30gb in a ten day rolling period they will halve the line rate until I keep my usage under 10gb in the 10 day rolling window. Exactly what I want!

Imagine my surprise when, after downloading all the demos and software updates I’d been itching to get hold of, my line rate gets halved after downloading only 16gb. Thinking it’s just a system error I phone their support – which is fantastically responsive and helpful – only to be told that the limit is 10gb in a 10 day window, even though the website says 30gb. After struggling to convince the support chap of the logic contained in their webpage, I gave up and phoned their sales division, only to have the sales guy emphatically agree with me that I can download just under 90gb at the full rate. Now I’m confused, so I tell the sales guy that his support team doesn’t agree with him, and he says he will phone back. Later on I get a phone call from someone else who once again tries to convince me that I can’t understand basic logic, even though I studied philosophy and computer science, and that the 30gb threshold shown on the website magically translates into a 10gb threshold because some months have 30 days. I call bullshit. Go to their website or look at the screenshots I took below and you tell me who is right! It’s false advertising and while I don’t want a refund, I’d like someone to admit that their website is wrong instead of indirectly insinuating that I’m two rolls short of a picnic!

Now they suggest that I go with the fully uncapped line, but then I have to pay a R1700 setup fee, wait ten days for a special router, and sign a 12 month contract. I’m sorry, but if I’ve just been sold a service that promised one thing and delivered another, I sure as hell am not going to sign a 12 month contract to get royally screwed on something else I’ve allegedly “misconstrued”.

And all this time I’m thinking of my buddy in America paying $30 for a 16mb uncapped line, and hating our rubbish infrastructure.

Update: Netconnect ISP offers the same service but their explanation isn’t misleading.

Threshold of 30gb over a ten day rolling window:

10 day rolling window limit of 10gb after hitting the 30gb threshold before you get returned to full rate.

2008.08.26