The dawn of the uncapped internet era


All bidorbuyers rejoice! You will never again have to experience the frustration of the internet connection running out on you while you are busy listing an item on bidorbuy, getting ready to place a bid, or researching the World Wide Web in preparation for your bidorbuy activities.

Up to a few days ago, South African cyber-population was condemned to live under a (very, very low) glass ceiling called capped internet access. Reach your (always so low!) limit and you are presented with the page you requested cannot be displayed message. Then it was up to you to take up biting your nails as a substitute for the internet, or to grit your teeth and buy some more credits.

True, in most cases the very low capping affects international sites; the local ones come with a much more generous limit. That, however, is a poor consolation, for in cyberspace it is often impossible to draw boundaries between national and international neighbourhoods.  There are sites that are hosted outside South Africa. When you browse them, you use up your international internet credits. There are local sites that have an international component (usually the ads). When you browse them, you also use up your international internet credits. And what about all the bidorbuyers who want to check the bidorbuy fan page on Facebook (international district!) or the latest bit of the bidorbuy news on Twitter (also international)?

As from 16 March 2010 (the day should be a red-letter day in the history of internet in South Africa), all that capping and partitioning nonsense began its long-awaited march to oblivion. That is the day when one provider unveiled the first uncapped offer in South Africa; the very next day, another outfit joined the uncapped party and several other announced plans to do the same.

Of course, uncapped internet the South African way is not really uncapped, but at least we got familiar with the term… Grateful as South African internet population has to be for that, we have to hope that the construction of more undersea cables will give us truly uncapped, but also fast and even more affordable wired broadband.

Those who never had an occasion to watch their internet credits run out can wait for this promise to materialise – unless their kids manage to clamber onto the computer chair and start downloading music before that happens.