It’s official: it’s illegal

Yesterday, after my chat with Esther Dyson, I emailed ISPA (Internet Service Provider’s Association) to find out this:

Could you please advise whether it would be legal for me to onsell some of my ADSL bandwidth into my home in Sandton to some of my neighbours. I’d like to make a bit of extra money, and I think I can charge them and still make a profit.

Ant Brooks, representing ISPA, mailed me this earlier today:

Technically, no, that would be illegal

However, he did go on to say:

I doubt anybody will care or try to stop you from doing so. In fact, one of the members of the Presidential Advisory Council on Information Society and Development suggested that consumers should do *exactly* what you are suggesting

So, there you have it. The Presidential Advisory Council is not above suggesting that people go out and actually break the law. Obviously they rest easy in knowing how utterly impractical and foolish this suggestion really is.

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2 thoughts on “It’s official: it’s illegal

  1. Ok, Henk and I have spoken directly via email about this, but just to make the point clear: either it’s legal or it ain’t. I’m not a lawyer or a legislator, so I take guidance from experts like ISPA. I did ask Telkom as well what they thought, but (big surprise) they haven’t bothered to respond.

  2. I’m not sure how Ant Brooks’ reply makes it ‘official’. As far as I know, it’s a lot more complex than that… if you are onselling inside a block of flats, for example, it’s different than crossing a public boundary. Isn’t something only defined as “illegal” once its been tried in court? Where on earth does this idea of it being illegal come from anyways? I think the question should be: Is it unethical?

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