In August last year we moved to a new place. The first thing I confirmed before we put down the offer on the house was if it has ADSL internet available - I was assured it was.
So, moving day came, and Telkom (South Africa's monopoly internet fixed line provider) arrived a few days after that (2 days later than they promised...). I was up and running, albeit at a slower speed than our previous house. We now have a 4 meg line, where we had a 10 meg line. I didn't think it would bother me that much, but I really do miss the extra speed. Anyway, we're coping with the 4 meg, but will definitely upgrade to 10 meg as soon as we can (the Telkom guy confirmed today that the upgrade to the exchange is in the pipeline, but not even he knows when exactly...).
But, alas. Our internet is not what it was. I can live with the slower speed, but nothing ticks me off more than having a slow and unstable internet connection. Especially in a country where there are NO alternatives (except for ludicrously expensive cellular connectivity). And lately, even my land line phone has been not working as it should - in fact, it started about a week ago. The internet and my phone would work perfectly fine and stable, then all of a sudden it dies, only to return for two minutes and then dying again. It was infuriating. It was frustrating. It caused me to lose hair, and I'm sure if I was a cat, the frustration alone would have cost me several of my nine lives.
Worst part, this issue started on a Friday evening.
The whole weekend my internet was on and off, on and off. At one stage on Saturday I could even manage to play Planetside 2 (very cool game by the way - think MMO + FPS!) for about 45 minutes. But after that, once again the definition of unstable.
Sunday evening the internet comes on (but phone is still dead) and it stays one the whole night. The next morning, Telkom phones, and as luck would have it, at that time everything was working wonderfully. They send out the technician anyway. He gets here, tests the line, and everything is perfect on his laptop. He leaves. 2 hours after that, I lose connectivity again. I HAVE NO MORE HAIR TO PULL OUT DAMNIT!!!
Luckily, I got the work cell number for one of the Telkom guys when he visited me a few months ago, and I decide to phone him directly. He says he'll get the people to give me a shout. Later that afternoon, I try to phone Telkom with my cellphone - this is not a free call, as the lady states "Please note that calls to this number are free when calling from your Telkom line." - I spend 12 minutes listening to horrible music, and call it quits for the day.
Late that night it came back. The internet, but not my phone. I cannot for the life of me understand what the hell is causing this. Planetary alignment? Butterflies flapping too fast in Canada? A solar flare from our star? I go to bed.
The next morning, it's all fine, but after a short while it quits on me again. You're probably fed up reading this already, but bare with me - it gets better! I phone Telkom from my cell again, this time decided to suck it up and pay the huge phone bill I'll receive at the end of the month. I hold for 30 minutes before getting to speak to someone. The lady on the other side refreshes the port, but that doesn't fix it, and she said she'll get a technician to come out again.
An hour after that, I get a call from the Telkom guy. He asks if everything is still dead, and finally it's starting to work out for me - yes my line is still DEAD!! He says great, he'll see me in a bit. Half an hour later he arrives, and the line is still DEAD whoohooo!! Why am I whoohooing you ask? Because now they can see I'm not spinning stories about this whole debacle! He starts testing stuff - first inside, then we go outside. The telephone pole is in my neighbours property, but he immediately tells me he thinks he knows what's wrong - the line coming from the pole to my house goes through a tree and it's wound up around some branches.
FINALLY an answer! The on and off and on and off dance my connectivity was playing with me coincided with the elements - in this case, the wind. Every time the wind blows (I now realise) the internet goes screwy. When it's still outside, my stuff works!
I won't bore you any further - he replaced the line, which was damaged, and now I'm back online. Only issue, it was slow again, but now, as I'm typing this it's fast. Let's see how this enfolds and if I need to make a pact with a crossroads demon to get decent internet for a change...