ISP email support tested — and only one could answer a simple question

An email support test of South African Internet service providers (ISPs) by MyBroadband revealed that only RSAWeb provided a complete and reasonable answer to the questions asked.

Email is a core part of any ISP’s support channels, but it is often neglected, with more focus placed on call centres and WhatsApp.

To see how local ISPs performed regarding email support, MyBroadband posed as someone looking to buy a fibre Internet package.

We sent major ISPs a simple question: What is the actual speed of a 100Mbps fibre package, and how long would it take to download a 1GB file.

It is a question many prospective fibre subscribers may have if they want to know how fast a 100Mbps service really is.

A tech-savvy user will be able to calculate the answer quickly. Less technical people can use freely available only calculators to find the answer.

A 100Mbps (megabit per second) fibre package should theoretically give you a download speed of 12.5MBps (megabytes per second).

A 1GB file equates to 1024MB and should take 81.92s to download in a perfect scenario.

The speed can, of course, be slower because of multiple people using the connection, a sluggish server, or the like.

We assumed that an ISP fibre support agent should be able to provide these details. We were wrong.

Out of twelve ISPs, only eleven got back to us after three business days.

Out of the 11 that replied, only one ISP provided a satisfactory answer — RSAWeb.

RSAWeb explained that they guarantee a 100Mbps line to the router but could not guarantee the speed achievable over Wi-Fi because of interference.

They also said that with a 100Mbps line, you should be able to download a 1GB file in under two minutes, but it is highly dependent on the site from which you are downloading.

This is a good answer, not only because it was accurate, but also advising as to how certain factors can influence the speed.

Afrihost, Axxess, and Metrofibre performed fairly well but did not provide complete answers.

Afrihost told us that we could get up to 99Mbps if there were no problems on the line and that if the connection were good, we would get a good speed for downloading the file.

Axxess advised us that they cannot guarantee the line’s speed, and it depends on the number of devices connected to the Internet.

Metrofibre did the maths and told us correctly that we could expect 12.5MB/s, but still did not answer how long the download would take.

The other ISPs said they required more information, either in the form of an address, contact details, or even the ID number of the person who will be taking out the line before they are willing to assist — a questionable requirement.

People looking to sign up for a new service typically do not want to provide personal information before getting the information they need.

The table below provides an overview of results from MyBroadband’s ISP email support test.

ISP Email Support Test Results
Email Automated response time Actual response time Full answer
RSAWeb [email protected] 0 minutes 22 hours 57 minutes Good answer
Afrihost [email protected] 0 minutes 1 hour 43 minutes Fair answer
Axxess [email protected] 9 minutes 29 minutes Fair answer
Metrofibre [email protected] 0 minutes 100 hours 25 minutes Fair answer
Vodacom [email protected] 1 minute N/A Asked for more info to assist.
Home Connect [email protected] 0 minutes 1 minute Asked for more info to assist.
Cool Ideas [email protected] 5 minutes 8 minutes Asked for more info to assist.
Vox [email protected] 6 minutes 3 hours 1 minute Asked for more info to assist.
Herotel [email protected] 9 minutes 5 hours 11 minutes Asked for more info to assist.
MTN [email protected] 2 minutes 21 hours 29 minutes Asked for more info to assist.
Cell C [email protected] 17 minutes 70 hours 42 minutes Asked for more info to assist.
Supersonic [email protected] N/A N/A N/A

Now read: There is one ISP in South Africa with an average speed of over 100Mbps

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ISP email support tested — and only one could answer a simple question