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ADSL – understanding your options

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South African consumers are becoming increasingly spoilt for choice in the broadband space, but making sense of the range of offerings available is not always easy given different pricing models and package structures. Furthermore, consumers need to remember that the total cost of a broadband service will include an access fee, bandwidth and Internet service provider costs, and possibly a lease or monthly payment for access equipment such as routers or an antenna.

South African consumers are becoming increasingly spoilt for choice in the broadband space, but making sense of the range of offerings available is not always easy given different pricing models and package structures.

That’s according to Tim Walter, General Manager for Product and Marketing at Nashua Mobile. He says that consumers need to remember that the total cost of a broadband service will include an access fee, bandwidth and Internet service provider costs, and possibly a lease or monthly payment for access equipment such as routers or an antenna.

‚ADSL is still the broadband technology of choice, provided it is available in your area,‚ says Walter. ‚It offers a lower cost per megabyte, coupled with superior performance, when compared to most mobile broadband technologies.‚

‚Given the different packages on the market, it isn’t always easy for consumers to understand the real bottom-line cost of an ADSL service,‚ says Walter.

The total cost of the service will include the line rental fee (the access cost) as well as bandwidth costs. Some packages will include only the bandwidth costs – for example, you might pay the Internet service provider R299 for 5GB of bandwidth, and then you will still need to pay Telkom a line rental fee and buy a router of your own.

Other packages will include the bandwidth, a monthly payment for a router and line rental cost as an all inclusive package.

It’s also important to consider the value-added services you’ll have access to, such as a free mailbox. The picture is further complicated by the different tariff structures that various service providers and packages offer for out-of-bandwidth data, i.e data you consume on top of the bandwidth included in your package.

Consumers also need to be aware that some packages may offer local bandwidth only – perfect if you just want to send and receive email and browse locally hosted sites, but useless if you want to take full advantage of the World Wide Web.

Says Walter: “It’s important to find a transparent package that gives you a clear idea of what you will be paying every month. People are using more online applications and downloading more content as prices come down – so it’s important to find a package that will accommodate your needs as they change and grow. You should pick a service provider with a competitive per-gig price for data you use above your monthly allocation.””

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