We receive news on the national blight of cable theft daily. On 3 December 2012, reports came through that a security guard was arrested, suspected of stealing R80 000 worth of cable. That's a lot of cable; but so common is cable theft that the report barely raised an eyebrow. Similarly, on 20 November 2012, police minister Nathi Mthethwa announced that government is 'intensifying the war' against cable theft, while also conceding that the problem was costing the country a staggering R5 billion per year. Again, this seemingly enormous amount created only the slightest media ripple.
And yet, whether it's the loss of the Internet or the inability to make a simple phone call, cable theft is, without doubt, a serious business killer. One of the key cost factors in minister Mthethwa's R5 billion equation is the downtime caused to businesses when phone lines stop working.
Telecoms specialist SS Telecoms has developed some innovative and cost-effective solutions to the problem in the form of the SS-10 and the SS-79 AR. These systems are connected to the analogue line or PABX system, allowing fail-over to cellular networks when the analogue line fails or is stolen. The SS-10 is more suitable to small business or even home use, while the SS-79 AR supports larger enterprise capabilities. With the SS-79 AR automatic re-routing, no downtime is experienced, which limits customer and staff frustration and ultimately saves you money. Thanks to these solutions, which are approved by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), local business owners can take action and side-step the dreaded downtime.
“The process is no more or less difficult than setting up a cellular connection,” says George Smalberger, SS Telecoms MD. “Once all the wires are plugged into the box, the user just needs to run the software supplied to set up the user interface. All in all, it takes a matter of minutes to get the phone system running.”
While resolving the downtime caused by cable theft is a key business benefit, the SS-10 has other important applications for companies operating outside of urban centres. In those regions still not serviced by landlines, the box is a lifesaver, offering coverage and PABX functionality for business otherwise excluded from the basic telecommunications systems the rest of the country take for granted. The 3G version also offers a crucial antidote to congested GSM networks when network coverage is sluggish or non-existent.
“3G is less congested in high population areas than GSM,” adds Smalberger, “so a lot of business owners use the SS-10 3G to gain coverage when they are battling with GSM access. The box also comes in very handy as a fail-over in the case of complete network failures.”