Teething problems anger iBurst clients

By Damian Clarkson, ITWeb junior journalist
Johannesburg, 14 Feb 2005

A number of iBurst clients claim the new broadband Internet service is erratic and unstable. However, iBurst distributor Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) says it has received minimal complaints, adding that the service is rapidly improving.

One customer, who asked to remain anonymous, says his service is interrupted every two hours, and various other clients are suffering from the same problem.

"When we signed the contract, it says we would have 24/7 connectivity. At the moment I am only getting 12 hours a day - I might as well switch back to a 56Kb dialup connection."

He says the problem has persisted for nearly five days and he has still not received any support from WBS.

"I have phoned and complained quite a few times, and some of the other customers I know have even given up trying."

Another customer, situated in the Glenwood, Durban area, says his connection has almost been off more than it has been on. "If there are any problems with the network or access that I have, I am entitled to receive notice of this. To date I have not been impressed and there are many others like me."

WBS CTO Sasan Parvin says there have only been two occasions this year when there were a high number of connectivity problems - one of them being last Friday. "We were down for servicing late that night."

The company also experienced a problem in mid-January, but he says this has since been rectified. "We had an erratic system caused by a GPS timing issue around 10 to 15 January. This meant that our clients were not able to enjoy the service the way they should. But we addressed that early this month."

Parvin concedes there are still issues with the iBurst service, but it is important for people to remember the service is still in its pre-commercial stage, where some teething problems are to be expected, he says.

"This is a progressive network. We have received a few complaints from existing clients, but things are stable. We have over 2 500 subscribers, and so we expect to have problems with 10 or 20 of them. We are sending out tech support to help and attending to them one by one.

"The number of complaints we are receiving now is much less than in January and we think we have sorted out the major issues. We are not 100%, but we are getting there. We have actually been receiving some positive feedback from some of our clients recently."

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