[CLUG-chat] Telkom Alternatives Advocacy Campaign

Jonathan Carter jonathan at clug.org.za
Wed Aug 16 08:30:12 SAST 2006

Hi Cluggers


[  Johannesburg, 15 August 2006 ]  - A small group of disgruntled Telkom
customers are starting an advocacy movement to highlight the lack of
alternatives in the telecoms market.

The campaign aims to take out a full-page advert in a national newspaper
detailing the commonly-alleged high costs and poor service of the
fixed-line monopoly, says Tectonic writer and Flow Communications
employee Richard Frank, who leads the project.

“I think there are a lot of businesses sharing our view that there is no
viable alternative [for simple fixed-line voice and data services],”
Frank says.

He says the idea for the campaign is based on the successful Firefox
campaign, where the open source organisation bought a double-page spread
in the New York Times to highlight that there was an open source
alternative to Internet Explorer.

In the same way that the open source community donated money to that
project, he is hoping local businesses will each donate R200 (or more)
to fund the campaign.

Frank will seek “legal expertise” before continuing, and is happy to
work with other people with more experience in consumer advocacy.

Newspaper ads

MyADSL founder Rudolph Muller describes Frank's plan as a “great idea”,
but believes about 500 people will need to be involved in order to raise
sufficient cash.

“Telkom is sensitive to media exposure,” he adds, pointing to an advert
recently taken out in Beeld, where Dr CH Stuart desperately requested
the name of a senior staff member after making 31 fruitless calls to the

“By 8am on the morning of the paper's publication, the man was
contacted, and by 11am his problems were attended to,” says Muller.

Yesterday, an executive at one of SA's larger Internet service providers
described Telkom's profit margins from the SAT3 cable as “criminal”.

Those interested in the project can contact Frank at
richard at tectonic.co.za



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