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Regular Contributor
Posts: 547
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ADSL to Fibre, the long & winding road



Hope this might be some use to others upgrading / waiting for Telkom fibre installation. 


Seems impossible to get reliable fibre ETA regardless of what coverage maps say.  Installation can happen a few weeks from application, but we weren’t that lucky. Our FTTH was activated a full year after Telkom delivered a ’FIBRE IS HERE’ brochure to all in our complex.  


After decades of faultless Telkom service and being a technical muppet, I figured migration from our long-standing adsl contract would be a quick, easy transition to fibre - one ISP / no number porting / new devices / installation / one point of contact / one monthly bill. 


It was eventually well worth the wait to hunker down with trusty copper for as long as it took , but only because ADSL didn’t clap-out on the way ( technical muppet skills were limited to knowing the difference between a router & a toaster).


Just be very sure to back up your Telkom mailbox before any contract change or upgrade. I discovered too late that mailbox history & data is irretrievably wiped in the migration process. 


Telkom had assured several times that the mailbox address , folders, history etc. would be migrated intact to the new contract, then it was completely zapped. Only the email address was retained on a new, blank mailbox. Same thing has happened to friends, and reported by many other Telkom customers in this forum. 


After many futile requests to retrieve the mail history I gave up. Have yet to see an example of Telkom restoring a wiped mailbox. They can only confirm your mailbox is ‘active’ (the blank one). I later found a webmail setting to forward copies of incoming Telkom mail to an alternative mail address automatically, but that’s also unreliable. I moved to another provider for primary mail.


That was the short story. If you’re in the fibre queue maybe just scroll down for the happy ending & skip the nightmare bits 😀 


Here’s the long version from a year of deranged scribbled notes :- 


Oct 2016  - Telkom emailed our complex ‘ fibre is imminent’.  Yaay! … purple cloud wafting our way at last. 

Body corporate red tape stuff was signed, sealed, & delivered. Exciting stuff.


Nov 2016 -  Glossy brochure was delivered to all residents: ’TELKOM FIBRE IS HERE!  - Did you know that fibre is now available at blah blah ‘      Yea, they even named the complex . We were happy, smiley people (for about 3 minutes).

But wait, the coverage map showed diddly-squat fibre purple anywhere near our area,  planned or otherwise. Hordes of loyal Telkom customers were royally miffed for a very long time by that brochure . At best it was a slick Telkom BS marketing ploy to get quick sign-ups, at worst it was a monumental devious barefaced porky. 


’ Fibre is here’  in Telkomspeak meansFibre might conceivably be here at some random indiscernible time in the far distant future.”   

So for the love of sanity don't hold your breath…


Dec 2016 -  Christmas went.  

Jan 2017 -   New year went.

Feb 2017 -   Valentine’s day went.

Mar 2017  - Telkom phoned offering ‘free’ fibre migration & installation. Price increase to kick-in on fibre activation. I said yes please.  The resulting SMS order ref was about as useful as a chocolate teapot, their telesales called repeatedly for months afterwards with the same offer.  

… But yay,  it was a start.


April 2017 - Van-loads of subcontractors turned up at the complex.  Holes were dug, dogs barked, cables were unwound, heads were scratched, bigger holes were dug.  

After a couple of weeks, neat coils of miracle bolt-speed cable were left sticking out of each house like springs of eternal hope. 

Then they left forever.


May 2017  -  Heard some residents’ fibre was up & running. Ours wasn’t. The purple map said nobody’s was. 10213 escalated our order. Openserve didn’t know. Telkom shop said maybe soon, they think. They were sorry.


June 2017 -  Back to the chocolate teapot order. Telkom shop still didn’t know ETA year. Neither did 10213.  Or 10210. Or Openserve.  They were sorry. The pile of escalation refs grew. 

No panic, trusty ADSL still buffering along nicely.


July 2017   -  Old faithful copper started playing up. Speed snail-to-none after 7pm. Getting antsy. 


August 2017 - The coverage map purple cloud morphed to ‘yes’. 10213 did umpteenth escalation on the chocolate teapot order. They were still sorry. 


September 2017 -  Wahaaaay!! … Openserve techs at the door. (Unexpectedly - lucky I work from home).


Install day 1 - Techs spent the day sourcing complicated metal thingies to connect heaps of spaghetti in various manholes. The tech said sub-contractors had left months ago without finishing infrastructure in our section. An Openserve inspector turned up later & confirmed this.  He took pics and said sorry. 

Seems Openserve techs can’t plan reliable install dates when they’re stuck on the same hamster wheel as customers - no decent co-ordination between Telkom sales / sub-contractors / technical / service / accounts. 


Install day 2 - Techs back at sunrise. The guys were very pleasant, helpful, and genuinely apologetic for the delay.  

Fibre cable was threaded inside, Telkom ONT & D-Link G225 router set up on tech’s laptop. They worked until all our devices networked on wifi ( iOS, OSX, windows),  signal strong throughout house, and the phone worked. Took around 2 hrs with half hr downtime. 

Utter joy! Fibre zapped our existing 4 Mbps contract from 1.6 D/L with wind behind it to 3.9 D/L and U/L faster X6. 


Minor hitch after a few days; speed/ping fine but some websites wouldn’t open. Telkom forum threads suggested a ‘port reset’ .  Had no clue what a port was but called 10210 - they reset port in a few minutes. It did the trick.


Oct 2017 -  Now to upgrade to 10 mbps uncapped.  R799 Home Unlimited deal looked perfect. 10213 said upgrade would take 48 hrs. No confirmation SMS. No change 4 days & a zillion hopeful speed tests later . 10213 said the order had been cancelled in ‘the system’ . No-one knew why.  They were sorry. 


Still high on having fibre at any speed, I logged another order. This time they said upgrade would take 7 days. No SMS confirmation again but 3 days later we had warp speed - no buffering, internet flying, fibre cloud 9 at last! 


Next day everything went AWOL - internet, email, router light, wifi - all kaput.


The phone still worked, mercy. 

My tech muppet brain frazzled after +8 hours with 10210 agents over plenty days of countless router resets, account verifications, line reactivations, reconfigurations and authentications. Lost track of usernames & passwords. They restored internet daily & every morning the router light jeered red again.  Dial-up was better than this. SOB.


Telkom was bungee-jumping off the end of my tether - 10210 hold music is the sound credibility makes when it’s dying.


Foraged through community threads for other stuff to try. Logged yet another fault & emailed Telkom refs, dates, & TIN number to support@telkom.co.za .  An SMS ref arrived almost immediately.  Tried a last desperate reset, router still said nope.  

Ate truckloads of ice-cream and cried into it.


The next morning a Telkom superhero tech called Chris phoned from his white horse in Cape Town central support ( we’re in KZN). Chris was brilliant - he checked the connection, helped reset the router for fibre, answered my muppet questions with saintly patience, restored internet permanently, & even called back later to confirm all good to close the fault . Zero issues since. Thanks so much Chris - you’re a star.


Telkom contract changes ‘ still in process’  apparently trigger several simultaneous system issues . Customer records aren’t updated between their service depts. The last 10210 agent said after fibre installation that only our old DSL router appeared on their records (which wasn’t fibre compatible). I had no clue what I was doing & had followed 10210 agents’ router configuration instructions parrot fashion - probably on wrong settings for the newly installed fibre CPE. 


Most support agents did their best to help, but they’re stymied by the lack of decent system interfacing between divisions.

Maybe Telkom’s all powerful ’ back office’  mislaid its gold codes & left the building with Elvis? 


Jun  2018 -  From batkak-crazy frustration to quantum-leap happy fibre ending :-


✔️Telkom fibre now flying for 9 mths with zero issues.

✔️We were billed correctly with downtime credits. 

✔️ Learned useful internet tech basics from this lot. 

✖️Telkom wiped years of email records forever - now use another provider for primary mail. 


Sincere thanks to folk in this forum for freely contributing your time and knowledge to help people like me get through this stuff. 

You’re appreciated more than you know. 


… and best of luck to all in the fibre queue - it’s truly worth the wait. 


Frequent Contributor
Posts: 380

Re: ADSL to Fibre, the long & winding road

[ Edited ]

Thanks Kathy1 for the great article!

Sad to hear that you lost your email.

It's tragic that Telkom have allowed themselves to be represented by staff that are ill trained and don't care and are forced to use disparate systems.


It seems your email was setup using IMAP which keeps all the email on the Telkom server.
Despite you keeping your email address, they seemed to  have created a new mailbox for you on a different server.


So they cleared your email mailbox and your email apps reflected that change.


This is one reason why I advocate setting emails up as POP. At least then your mailbox is fully downloaded to your computer. You just have to make sure that you back up your mail file incase your computer crashes.

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