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Saturday, 9 August 2008

Karoo Part 3?

Now that the meetings with our ISP, Karoo, are back on again we are once again back in the loop, so to speak. They are giving us information that we can share with the general public as well as some information we cannot due to what they call 'company secrets'. That is a contentious issue in and of itself which I will touch on later.

At this time KC, a telephone company that is also the Karoo mother ship. are upgrading their network in readiness for ADSL2+. At the last meeting we was given a date of 28th July 2008 for the big turn on date. Apparently, they had had some problems during their internal trials that showed that those on extended reach, >8km from the nearest exchange, where getting suboptimal performance. Quite why they where surprised by this only they know. Still, they where surprised and the big turn on date was missed. The reason for this delay, one can assume, is while they attempt to find a workaround for these >8km away folk.

We all know the dangers attached to assuming but as they had told us of this 'glitch' and they have since gone very quiet the assumption is not a big leap to make as to why they are affectively in a stop state.

One would think that a local telephone company serving local people, and surrounding areas, would not have any exchanges >8km away from a customers property. As they are serving Kingston upon Hull and surrounding areas the land coverage is quite large. They have many exchange boxes dotted around the city but one has to realise the telephone cables do not run in a line of sight fashion. So, while your house may be 1.5km from an exchange the telephone line, snaking underground, could be 2.3km in length or more. So, because they have expanded outwards from their heartland it is not beyond the realms of probability that these people >8km from their nearest exchange are those living on the outside edge of the city boundary. Those on the East side of the city also have fewer exchanges then those on the West side so those in East Hull also have longer telepnone to exchange lines. Again, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a few are >8km from their nearest exchange.

They have told us that very few customers will attain the full 24Mb that ADSL2+ technology offers. Instead, they said, the vast majority of customers will see download speeds in the region of 15-20Mb. Some, unfortunately, will be below that lower mark in the 10-15Mb range. However, anything above the current limitation has got to be a good thing so even if you are one of the unlucky ones and only get around the 12Mb mark I would not complain. They have said that there will be a few customers that will not benefit at all from ADSL2+ so for those very unlucky ones rather than make them suffer with slower speeds they will keep open the ADSL1 links. Yes, I know they use hardware with a fall back but for the sake of keeping things simple the basic premise is how I describe.

Karoo, being a KC sibling as they are, have probably inherited the known cautiousness of its mother. They have also probably inherited the wall secretive ssilence that KC are known the world over for. This wall of silence goes someway to explaining why they have cut off all contact with us. Also this act of silence allows all manner of rumours to start and fester, such as "it is not on because they have fucked up as usual." or "it is not on because their techs have no idea how to do it." and so on. These are two sch comments gaining traction on various forums already.

They have already stated that it is those on the new package sets that are getting ADSL2+ first so why can they not turn it on and sort out any problems once customers are up and running? This plan of action makes much more sense than trying to sort of niggling issues when the overall internal network is not saturated. It makes perfect sense to allow as many customers as possible on so that they can see how the set-up works when in full use, well as full as they have customers anyway.

Since our last meeting they have gone very quiet. So, where they are within the upgrade cycle and what now in the official turn on date is any body's guess. The status page within the control panel shows only that during the summer months they will be upgrading the network and that customers will have two forced disconnection. The status article reads more like an advert for the new packages than it does to inform customers of what is happening. Much more imprtant to customers is the current status of the upgrades. A daily digest of a few words would go a long long way to giving customers who care about such things a much better idea of what is going on and what the current status is. Bt then, this is Karoo we are talking about, who give out as little information as they possible can. In days of yore this would have been good enough but todays customers are more demanding. Todays customers want information. Which is why I suggested they set up a general public accessible blog. They said they would do that but like everything else within the KC umbrella, whether we will actually see a blog is something only the <insert your deity here> knows.

Customers all over the city have seen the disconnect/reconnect cycle they said would happen so what is stopping them turning it on? I don't know. I do know that giving out a date then missing that date and saying absolutely nothing about why they missed that date is not a good thing to do regarding customer relations. It fosters bad customer relations.

Come on Karoo. Pull your fingers out and let us customers enjoy the benefits ADSL2+ offers.

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