|Beware of ‘noisy’ Internet Service Providers|
|Wednesday, 18 July 2012 21:09|
Before we even delve in the type of service offered by these ISPs, we need to clearly explain and help everyone from the ordinary man in the street to the IT manager in the corporate world on choosing the best service provider.
We have many ISPs today but I would definitely disagree that there are merely duplicating roles, in fact there are still many facets which our ISPs will need to cover.
For Internet connectivity, we have many people with various needs, some want it for their large corporates across countries, some just for office work, yet some need it for home use and others need something flexible on the go, wherever they are.
Ironically, today we do not have any ISP that is offering all these services at premium rates.
Some ISPs take the lead in some sectors but when given other platforms of connectivity to hook up, they fail dismally.
This is one reason why even today I expect more ISPs to come on board and still make it because somehow the current players are sleeping on the job.
For background sake, all ISPs get their connectivity via the local Internet Access Providers (IAP).
Most people have confused these with the ISPs since most of them are now offering the same service offered by the Internet service providers creating confusion for most clients though this is legal.
These are the companies registered with our local authority, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, and are authorised to give bandwidth to connect our ISPs online.
In Zimbabwe we have two types of Internet Access Providers. We have the Class A and B access providers.
Although their services are almost similar, they are only separated by the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) data component.
According to Portraz, Class A providers construct, operate, develop, extend, and maintain a public data and Internet access network referred to as the data and Internet backbone that comprise the national data and Internet service, the international data and Internet service.
They also provide local access data and Internet service and the Internet content service.
This licensee is allowed to carry voice as Voice over Internet Protocol, the licensed Internet Access Provider may provide Internet Service Provider (ISP) services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The class B Internet Access Provider is only limited to the national Internet service, local access Internet service and Internet content service. This licensee is not allowed to carry voice as Voice over Internet .
Currently, in Zimbabwe we have more than 37 Internet Service Providers.
According to Mr Chaibva of Potraz, they do not regulate Internet Service Providers, these can just join the bandwagon via the IAP and Potraz will only watch their IAPs.
Class A Internet Access Providers have also increased to above 10. These include Africom, Aptics Trading, Aquiva Wireless, Ecoweb, NetOne, PowerTel Communications, Taurai Zimbabwe, TelOne, Valley Technologies.
Under normal circumstance, dealing with IAP should be a prerogative reserved for ISPs but currently, if you can pay, you can simply get hooked to the global village.
With all these structures in place it is very easy for anyone to make wrong decisions based on the noise some service providers are making.
We have all been misled by some adverts or applied for a service, which can stretch our budget and system or is too incapacitated to do the job.
This has led to many people hopping from one ISP to the other and at times running a dual or more service provider systems.
It is now common for SMEs to have two different service providers running their gateway services.
One might be running just the fibre and the other complementing with satellite transmission in pursuit of reliable and fast connectivity.
This has raised the need to review each ISP to help those tasked with the duty of choosing the best package for their environment without spicing or confusing them with the technical salesman lingo.
I know of one salesman of a company we shall not mention who desperately convinced a client to join their network only to offer a service that is not supported in the client’s residential area but still I watched them haplessly as the circumstance unfolded.
There are some areas like the Highlands with known geographical landscape that will not run Wimax perfectly or Waterfalls where most satellites lose their line of sight.
However, our gifted salesmen are being allowed to get away with it only for the client to realise that they have been offered a very unstable and unreliable connection.
Best solutions for home and offices will never be equally good for the man in the street yet still he/she demands something to keep connected on the go.
Internet Service Providers have mastered this trend of specialisation yet they may promise to be all- rounders, an offer one should take at his own risk. With such a tremendous number of local Internet Service Provider one would think we are the best service, yet we still have serious shortcomings.
We also got a report that Potraz has a framework, which is expected to compel local ICT companies to share backbone infrastructure among other things, that is food for thought!
This article should lead users to ask and analyse the packages being offered in relation to pricing, stability and speed.
Before signing any connectivity contract, one needs to at least ask a friend or get a testimony from someone before you become a victim of sales- man/woman’s prowess.
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