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General news - there are 12 news items to read

We will be writing to owners of the apartments with the greatest changes (which MIGHT be for very good reasons of course).

Here are the charts for the trend, according to the volume of usage and the proportion used by the 'Top Ten':

[Data for these charts is kindly provided by AMI]

The trend

Top ten

There was an initial problem with sections that had no people associated with them. In that case there was no data, and the listing ('Manage your people') did not provide the facility to 'Add' more people.  We have been right through the data and virtually all sections will now list at least one entry. The listing should look something like this:

Please tell us of any further problems and suggestions.   Thank you.

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The charts are here - have a look and see where you fit into the overall pattern of usage
Access control and short-stay visitor registration. The new web site offers new facilities. A concierge service next year? Residents moving over to optical fibre but fibre is upsetting our DSTV. Smart water meters promise real-time water usage data. Insurance costs have risen. Short-term letting is classified as a business. We are going to manage contractors much more carefully.
As owners and residents will be aware, we now have wireless internet-connected water meters in the Mutual Building. As well as assisting the management team to organise billing based on actual use, there is now the possibility to access water usage data in ‘near real time’.

Short-stay visitors and others who are only in the building for a short time will be able to be billed for actual usage, or cautioned about excessive usage, even if they are only in residence for a few days.  Alarm thresholds will be able to be set, and problems will be able to be addressed promptly. The smartphone app will link to the web, and the wall-mounted display communicates with your meter ‘locally’, by wireless (it will need power). Applied Metering (the company operating the system) hopes to have these options available before the end of the year. In order to cover the ongoing costs of running this system there has to be a monthly ‘per-meter-point fee’ and based on the economies of scale associated with our building, they have agreed to offer a 33% discount on the standard monthly cost.
Pamphlets with information about the fibre services are now being distributed around the building but you may be away and you may want to see a simple range of service offerings. The information provided to us in NOVEMBER 2016 can be seen here.

You are advised to approach the ISPprovider(s) of your choice DIRECTLY for up-to-date information, and for details of installation charges and any special get-you-started offers that they may have.
Watch out for details in your mail box, and on the web site.  And remember that if you want DSTV over the fibre backbone that will involve an additional box to unravel and feed the signal into your decoder.  More information here as soon as it is available, but there is some information on the Octotel web site
As soon as we have clear information about how to get connected, and when, we will let you know. Our apologies for the delay.
We considered a number of other options: the building already has network cabling to every apartment and it might have been possible to use the old cables to pull the new fibre through the conduits; alternatively, it might have been possible to bring the fibre to the boxes where the cables are connected, to use the final length of cable as the 'last few metres' of connection. That would have brought the fibre to your existing network connection point.

By bringing the fibre all the way to your sections things are simplified. There will be no disruption to residents using the existing network and where the routing goes from there is up to you.

As previously advised, the fibre installation from Octotel provides you with a choice of more than 12 internet service providers - names you will already recognise (Mweb, RSAWeb, WebAfrica, Afrihost and Vox Telecom (just to mention a few). There may be an additional once-off charge based on the arrangements with the ISP to install all the way through to your new router.

More details will follow soon.

And don't forget, there is a DSTV option coming, as well ... !
Last year we ran a survey to elicit opinion on what is needed in our web site, and whether we would not be better off if we just used Facebook. By my quick count, there were 20 in favour of a custom web site and only 7 in favour of using Facebook. Given the concern for additional information and the need to tighten up on the recording of who is actually living in the building, it was decided to develop a database-driven web site. What you are reading now is presented in this way. You are not reading a news item, you are reading a stream of data from a database. In parallel, just behind our own interest in gaining fibre access to the internet, the local industry has swung into motion and we are imminently beginning that installation. As reported in Newsletter 38, the essential 'short' story is: There is no cost to the Body Corporate or owners for the installation of the fibre infrastructure. There is a choice of more than 12 Internet Service Providers (MWeb, RSAWeb, WebAfrica and so on), on 12-month contracts (at no installation cost in some cases) or on monthly contracts (with a variable cost for the actual connection and for a new router). You will need to review the details and decide about your choices. There is no cost to the Body Corporate or owners for the installation of the fibre infrastructure; usage will incur charges to users in a similar way to ADSL services.

- There is a choice of more than 12 Internet Service Providers (MWeb, RSAWeb, WebAfrica and so on), on 12-month contracts (at no installation cost in some cases) or on monthly contracts (with a variable cost for the actual connection and for a new router). You will need to review the details and decide about your choices.
- If you just want Internet access, then the service will be delivered to your existing network access point in your apartment (not over your telephone line, as might be the case if you have a Telkom ADSL service).
- If you want the additional DSTV service (the one that needs FOUR co-axial cables!) then the fibre will be brought directly to your section, and a DSTV connection box as well as a router will be provided. This will also be at a reasonable cost.

This fibre installation promises data access at costs comparable to ADSL, but five to ten times faster and more reliable, without 'shaping' or 'throttling'. This is what was asked for in our survey earlier in the year. If you just want Internet access, then the service will be delivered to your existing network access point in your apartment (not over your telephone line, as might be the case if you have a Telkom ADSL service).

If you want the additional DSTV service (the one that needs FOUR co-axial cables!) then the fibre will be brought directly to your section, and a DSTV connection box as well as a router will be provided. This will also be at a reasonable cost.
Here is an update: I wrote to our HWC contact, explaining that that it is now at least three months since we were advised that approval for remedial works on the Mutual Building would take just two or three weeks. I explained that we are now deeply concerned about the delays. What we are seeking permission to do is the re-sealing of the joints between the granite blocks on the exterior and the re-sealing of the window-granite junctions. In this process we have consulted widely with qualified experts in all disciplines, to ensure that what we intend to do is the best possible solution to the problem, given all the constraints. (This was all done in parallel with the extended legal that ? happily ? got us to the High Court in November 2015 and led to a settlement with Old Mutual). We had fully expected to have completed much if not most of the work by now. Because of the delay in gaining heritage approval, the schedule of work is now compromised and will certainly lead to additional (and otherwise avoidable) damage to the building when winter returns. There is no way that the work can be completed by April-May.

Last updated: 28 September 2017
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