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The real cost of connecting

A new book, “The Mobile Office”, reveals the true cost of connecting a small office or a mobile worker to the Internet – and sounds the death knell for dial-up access in South Africa.

“The Mobile Office”, the latest book by Arthur Goldstuck, technology writer and editor of The Big Change, has for the first time presented a detailed analysis of the cost of Internet access in South Africa. It shows that dial-up access is the most expensive form of Internet connectivity in South Africa.

The belief that dial-up is cheap because it tends to carry the lowest monthly subscription of all forms of Internet subscription is shown to be a myth. While the upfront subscription is usually far cheaper, once the access is actually used, it quickly becomes more expensive.

Arthur Goldstuck and FNB’s Len Pienaar at the media launch of “The Mobile Office” on 20 November

World Wide Worx’s research into mobile technologies in South Africa, under the Mobility project sponsored by First National Bank, provided the initial impulse for the book.




FNB Mobile and Transaction Solutions CEO, Len Pienaar, says FNB has been sponsoring the Mobility research project for the past three years and are proud to be the only financial institution to support this initiative. “The book offers a strong component of financial common sense, which we support wholeheartedly,” adds Pienaar.

Among the findings revealed in the book, it has emerged that:

A business using dial-up would have to spend 18 minutes per working day on dial-up to justify moving to a basic ADSL service.
For a residential user who is also online weekends, daily usage that would justify ADSL is even lower: 16 minutes
For 3G for small businesses, the dial-up time that justifies moving over comes down to 12 minutes.
And for iBurst, it is half a minute!

“Our Internet and SME research always indicated that dial-up was a dying technology among small businesses, but the scale of the savings offered by mobile broadband that came out of our new analysis was a shock,” says Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.

“The cost model that we provide in the book shows that dial-up access is obsolete both in terms of utility and in terms of cost. It is unsustainable, and broadband must now become the default for Internet access in South Africa,” says Goldstuck.

  • The book, subtitled “The Essential Small Business Guide to Office Technology”, is published by Double Storey and is an easy read at 88 pages. It will be available at a cost of around R80 in the following bookstore chains and outlets: Exclusive Books, PNA, Estoril, Wordsworth, Adams, and Fogarty’s. For other stores, request that they order it from the publisher.



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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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