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Prepare for flooded lines

Telkom says it is gearing up for South Africa’s annual heavy rains and electrical storms in an effort to minimise network faults caused by the adverse weather conditions.

Unfavourable weather conditions in the form of heavy rains and electrical storm activity are expected across South Africa during the annual rainy season. Telkom says it is gearing up to minimise network related faults caused by the adverse weather conditions and the effect this has on our customers.

Thunderstorms are most prevalent at this time of year especially in the interior regions of the country ‚ greater Gauteng and Free State areas being most affected.

Gauteng, in particular, is predisposed to heavy rains as well as a high water table often resulting in the flooding of underground access infrastructure, according to a Telkom statement. Flooding could cause faults but it also restricts workmen from accessing the fault zone, causing delays in repair times.

“We have embarked on an extensive programme to ensure network reliability and resilience during these adverse weather conditions. This includes an extensive campaign, during the months leading up to the rainy season, where Telkom ensured the insulation of all exposed and vulnerable cable joints,‚ says Theo Hess, Telkom Managing Executive for Network Field Services.

‚Telkom is also mobilising all available technicians to work additional hours in order to address outstanding faults as expeditiously as possible,‚ says Hess.

Whenever there is a thunderstorm, it is possible that lightning, or electrical power surges caused by lightning, may damage one or more of your computer components with excessive voltage. Modems are especially susceptible, because a harmful power surge can reach the modem in two ways – through the electrical power grid and through the telephone line to which the modem is connected.

Customers are advised that when there is a thunderstorm, all electronic devices (especially computers) should be unplugged to avoid damage from harmful power surges. Not only should all power supply cables be unplugged, but also any telephone cables that are connected to the computer.

A lightning protection unit‚ also known as a surge suppressor – can help reduce the risk of damage. Some commercially available lightning protection units have additional sockets to protect against power surges that travel through the telephone line. However, while lightning protectors can add extra protection from power surges, it is important to note that the best possible protection is by unplugging all power supply cables and telephone cables.

A telltale sign that a modem has been damaged by a power surge is that the computer reports “”no dial tone,”” even though the modem is properly connected to a telephone line. The computer may also report that the modem is “”not responding.””

In other instances the indicator lights on the modem do not illuminate. If other components have been damaged, you may find that the computer will not operate at all. If any of these symptoms occur soon after a thunderstorm, it is highly likely that one or more computer components have been damaged by a power surge.

“”While the bad weather is likely to prevail, we will intensify our efforts to ensure that interrupted services are repaired timeously,”” says Hess.

Hess advises customers that once they have obtained a reference number after reporting a fault, they do not need to call Telkom again as the Company’s internal systems will manage all the faults and ensure that repairs are done.

Affected customers are urged to take cognisance of the following:

¬∑ Once a customer has obtained a reference number after reporting a fault, note it down and keep it handy. Should a customer need to follow up on the already reported fault, please quote this reference number. Kindly note that due to high call volumes, Telkom’s response time to attend to the faults during this period is longer than usual and the Company apologises for this. In order to alleviate the problem, it would be very helpful if customers limit their progress enquiry calls.

· Customer Premises Equipment such as telephone handsets, modems and computing devices are deregulated in terms of legislation. This means that these devices can readily be purchased at most electronic equipment outlets, including Telkom. The Company advises customers to only purchase ICASA-approved instruments or devices that have adequate lightning protection. Prior to reporting a fault to Telkom, customers must please check that the problem is not with the device. One way of achieving this is by plugging in another instrument to ensure the telephone or any other associated equipment is not damaged.

· On several occasions, especially during electrical storms, routers/modems and computer equipment may experience a malfunction and freeze up. In order to isolate the problem, it would help if customers unplug their ADSL modem/router from the electrical power point. However, should customers continue to experience modem problems, they should unplug the modem and PC and then reconnect them. The computer should then be re-started and the username and password entered, if you connect that way. If the problem persists, the Telkom Call Centre can provide assistance.

· Faults can also be logged electronically via the Telkom website Р

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