What we know (facts):
- Our Internet connection has been out since last Friday.
- So have those of all other WiMax clients.
- Non-WiMax clients of Benin Telecoms have been having problems since Friday for certain types of downloads and have experienced unusual bandwidth shaping.
- Connections from other ISPs sometimes work, and sometimes don’t. There is probably a pattern, but we don’t yet know it.
- .bj domains are up and down and up and down (currently down).
What we’ve been told by Benin Telecoms employees (lies, truths, and half-truths):
- Benin Telecoms isn’t recognizing WiMax customers’ passwords.
- Employees of Benin Telecoms shared their passwords with friends so that said friends could use services for free.
- Benin Telecoms employees are having password problems (including the only person there who can check account status).
- Benin Telecoms has never seen a problem like this before (and is panicking).
What we think (100% conjecture):
- Sharing passwords that give access to sensitive information is BAD BAD BAD.
- Benin Telecoms has no idea how to fix this.
- This seems to be a perfect storm of overselling bandwidth, poor security, password sharing, cheap equipment, and lack of expertise.
I’m currently using Moov’s USB modem (GPRS) to connect. It’s not bad for checking email, web stats, and occasional blogging, although I wouldn’t recommend it for anything heavy duty, as the connection’s quite unstable.
Hopefully the connection will be back next week, and we’ll be in the free and clear. Otherwise, Bertrand and I will be in the uncomfortable position of looking for a new ISP. For now, we’re using Moov, and hopping around Cotonou looking for cybercafés that work. An hour or two here, an hour or two there—it’s expensive, but it’s the only way to stay in business.
What a way to end the year, Benin Telecoms.