My interwebs has been borked for the past few days. Calls to my service provider have been met with the terrifying statement, “We are aware of the problem. Telkom is investigating”. To put this in context for non-South Africans: it’s a bit like hearing, “Don’t worry, we have our best baboon prepped and ready to perform your surgery.”
Telkom is the local parastatal phone company that has a virtual monopoly on the country’s physical telecommunications infrastructure – i.e. the wires and fibre-optic cables that connect us to the Series of Tubes. To say that they have a tarnished reputation would be an insult to tarnish everywhere. They manage to combine the worst elements of monolithic corporate inefficiency with the mindless stupidity of a government department.
Unfortunately, the wireless route is an even worse option. Mention the word “iBurst” in polite company and you are bound to see veins throbbing in rhythmic counterpoint to grinding teeth. They would probably have better success is they called themselves iFail, because then at least their customers wouldn’t make the mistake of hoping.
If the South African government decides to jump on the “let’s cut off internet access” bandwagon (side bets, anyone?), it’s probably going to take us a while to notice.