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Rate pages updated

9 October 2015 09:29:08 +0000

In addition to posting the new kwacha rates we mentioned here last week, we have updated all of our rate pages to lower our managed VPS rates in all currencies, and provide a complete list of the huge number of top-level domains (TLDs) that we now offer. In addition to a comprehensive array of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), we now offer 364 new TLDs, such as (for example) the following:

  • .amsterdam
  • .club
  • .design
  • .golf
  • .irish
  • .london
  • .news
  • .ngo/.ong
  • .ninja
  • .online
  • .rocks
  • .site
  • .space
  • .taxi
  • .tech
  • .website
  • .work
  • .xyz

Please check out the new rates pages:

If you have any feedback, please let us know!

A note to our Zambian clients on the value of the kwacha

3 October 2015 08:13:59 +0000

As you have no doubt noticed too, the recent slide in the value of the kwacha has not escaped our notice.

Although we bill and accept payment locally in kwachas, most of NinerNet’s expenses are paid in foreign currency to offshore suppliers where our servers are located. The reliability of these offshore systems is one of the reasons we’ve heard from our clients for choosing NinerNet over other local companies with data centres in Zambia. Before the current situation, our kwacha pricing had already fallen behind the kwacha’s trajectory against the US dollar, and we were considering options to address this that did not involve a pricing shock to you, our client, and simultaneously laid out plans for future price changes (even decreases) in a predictable manner.

When we first started operating in Zambia we, like many companies, invoiced in US dollars while accepting payment in kwachas. In 2012 the Government issued The Bank of Zambia (Currency) Regulations, 2012, outlawing the use of foreign currencies for domestic transactions. As NinerNet Communications is a Zambian-registered turnover tax company, we complied. For philosophical reasons (not the least of which was to keep our pricing predictable) we did not return to invoicing in US dollars when this law was later rescinded, and the kwacha rates we set in 2012 have not changed in the three years since.

Unless the kwacha loses further value in a short period of time, this is an issue that we will deal with gradually over the next few months by bringing our kwacha rates back into line with the kwacha’s value against the US dollar.

Effective with our October 2015 invoicing at the middle of the month, our rates will increase by K3.00 per US dollar — i.e., from the K5.50 per US dollar we set in 2012 to K8.50 per US dollar. In other words — to use our most popular hosting plan (webONE) as an example — if the monthly rate was K82.50, the rate effective with this month’s billing will be K127.50. Similarly, our price for generic top-level domains (e.g., dot-com) will increase from K104.50 per year to K161.50 per year. (We will leave the price of our alternative top-level domain for Zambia [dot-zam.co] at K66.00 per year.) You can use our US dollar rates page to see where things are going; our kwacha rates page will be updated in the next few days to reflect rates at the current exchange rate that will be charged for all NEW business.

Something important to note is that accounts that are already paid up to a certain expiry date will NOT be affected. In other words, if your expiry date is set at 1 June 2016 (for example), your hosting will still expire on that date and you will not be billed anything extra. This will also continue to apply into the future; your expiry date will remain your expiry date no matter what happens to the exchange rate in the meantime. Refunds for cancelled hosting will be refunded at the rate that was paid at the time the service was invoiced.

We would like to return to stable and predictable kwacha rates as soon as possible. Assuming that the exchange rate does indeed stabilise in the near term, we will look at revising our kwacha rates — up or down, as the case may be — every three months going forward to avoid sudden changes like the one we are being forced to implement today. Of course, if there are any wild swings like there have been since the beginning of September we will have no choice but to react more quickly.

We welcome any feedback you may have on our plans. Thank-you for your understanding, and thank-you for your business.

Zambian kwacha rebasing

15 December 2012 15:42:05 +0000

As you will be aware, if you’re a Zambian client, the kwacha will be rebased on 1 January 2013, making 1000 old kwachas equal to 1 new kwacha. In keeping with Bank of Zambia guidelines and requirements, this will affect our invoicing as follows:

  • Invoices we issue between 15 and 31 December 2012, inclusive, will be issued in old kwachas, but will also include a value in new (rebased) kwachas. If you pay the invoice on or before 31 December, you will need to pay the old kwacha amount. If you pay the invoice on or after 1 January, you will need to pay the new kwacha amount.
  • Invoices we issue between 1 January and 30 June will be in new kwachas, but will include the value in old kwachas for comparison.
  • Where we have used the “K” symbol we will use the “KR” symbol (“kwacha rebased”) between 1 January and 30 June, inclusive. After that we will once again revert to using just the “K”.
  • Where we have used the currency code ZMK, we will use ZMW on and after 1 January.
  • Any account balances carried over into 2013 will be converted to new kwachas (ZMW) by dividing by 1000, and rounding as per BOZ guidelines. Similarly, previous account balances, although billed and paid for in old kwachas, will be converted to new kwachas for the purpose of calculating your running account balance in new kwachas.
  • Invoices will be rounded off to the nearest 5 ngwee to facilitate cash payments by those clients who prefer to pay in cash. CORRECTION, 2013-01-30: Invoices will not be rounded. If you are paying in cash in person, your balance owing will be rounded to the nearest 5 ngwee at the time of payment. If you deposit cash to our bank account, please round to the nearest 5 ngwee. Whether the rounding is up or down, we will record the actual payment and carry forward a balance of the difference (1 or 2 ngwee) between your payment and the actual invoice amount. If the rounding is down, this will not adversely affect the state of your account with us.
  • The cover emails to which invoices are attached (and all reminders, expiry notices, etc.) will reflect amounts only in old kwachas in 2012, and only in new kwachas in 2013. These emails are only an unofficial summary of the official invoice, which is the PDF document attached to the invoice email.
  • We will, in due course, publish new rates on our website. There will be no increase in our rates at this time — i.e., all rates in new kwachas will be the same as the old rates, divided by 1000.

If you have any questions about this, please let us know. Thank-you.

Kwacha rates published

27 October 2012 05:55:19 +0000

We have published our kwacha rates on our website four our Zambian clients. If you have any questions, please let us know!

New Bank of Zambia currency regulations

15 June 2012 09:57:44 +0000

On 12 June we learnt of The Bank of Zambia (Currency) Regulations, 2012, that were apparently passed on 7 May, came into effect on 18 May, and were posted on the BOZ website on 7 June. Despite the fact that our US dollar-based invoices have always included, according to previous law, a kwacha value (the other option on a foreign currency-based invoice is [or was] to include a conversion rate), it appears now that the mere mention of a foreign currency is illegal, and punishable by significant fines and/or jail terms.

Although NinerNet has clients in quite a number of countries around the world, in Zambia we operate through a locally-registered, turnover tax company named (believe it or not) “NinerNet Communications“. (Doing so significantly improves our ability to operate competitively in Zambia, and we have always been quick to point out to prospective Zambian clients that our invoices can be settled locally in kwachas.) As a result, our business in Zambia must be considered domestic, and so we are subject to this new law.

Unfortunately this news arrived too late for us to reconfigure and re-program our invoicing system in time for June’s invoicing. Therefore we will be adding prominent notices to our June invoice emails and the invoices themselves which indicate that, despite the presence of dollar amounts on the invoice, we “demand to be paid” in kwachas in accordance with section 4 of the new Regulations. To be clear, to comply with this law we can no longer accept payment in US dollars (or any other foreign currency) on “domestic transactions” in Zambia. In fact, we will be closing our dollar account in July.

By 1 July we will be issuing invoices denominated in kwachas only. We’ll also be adding a rates page for kwachas to our website, rather than simply referring clients to the US dollar rates. We’ll send a follow-up email to advise you of the new, fixed rates when they’re published. We have not finalised these yet, but we anticipate basing the new rates on an even exchange rate that hedges slightly against future variations. This will result in a price increase of about 87ยข … oops, I mean K4500 per month for those clients on our most popular hosting plan, with the benefit being that your invoice won’t fluctuate from month to month.

I welcome your feedback on this issue. The commenting system on this blog is not working (yet!), so please contact me through the contact form on the NinerNet website to let me have your thoughts. Thanks.

Craig

Potential strike by Canada Post employees

19 May 2011 22:42:26 +0000

Depending on who you listen to, a strike at Canada Post is either imminent or a remote possibility. However, certain large customers of Canada Post — e.g., at least one ministry of the British Columbia provincial government, to name one — have decided that they’re not taking any chances and have sent critical mail out a week earlier than scheduled.

As is the case for any business, we need our clients to keep paying their bills during a postal strike. Fortunately we send out our invoices via email, so there are no issues with the delivery of those. However, unlike most hosting companies, we accept payment by cheque, and so if you regularly pay your invoice by cheque (and send it to us via postal mail, of course) you may need to make alternative arrangements if there is a strike, especially if it’s a protracted one. (This does not apply to our Zambian clients.)

We accept online payment via credit card, and would encourage you to pay your invoices using this method. If you’re in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley or Victoria areas of British Columbia, you may also make deposits directly to our Vancity account. The details for these methods of payment and others that don’t involve the post office are in the emails that you receive to which your invoices are attached.

If you have any questions or concerns about making sure that we receive your payments on time during a postal strike, please contact us. Thank-you.

Billing reminder

4 November 2010 17:23:47 +0000

We’d like to remind those clients who pay their invoices via direct deposit, bank transfer or some other means that does not pass through our hands or website that we need you to let us know — independently of whatever action you took to pay your invoice — that you have made a payment. Even if you have included some sort of reference information with your payment, such as your name or company name, client code or invoice number, this information is not always provided to us by our banks. Additionally, most of our clients with a standard configuration of some sort are billed the same amount as other clients, so if we have multiple payments of an identical amount with no additional information, we have no way of knowing whose accounts to credit.

If we do not know who to credit, your account will go through the normal billing cycle, and you may be surprised to receive payment reminders and expiry and suspension notices. Please claim your payment so that this does not happen!

Relevant information we need to confirm receipt of your payment includes:

  • Payment date
  • Payment amount
  • Method of payment
  • Identifying number, such as a cheque number, transfer number, etc.

Thanks very much for helping us make sure your payments are credited to your account in a timely manner.

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This is the corporate blog of NinerNet Communications. It's where we post announcements, inform and educate our clients, and discuss issues related to the Internet (web and email) hosting business and all that that entails. This includes such concomitant industries and activities such a domain registration, SSL certificates, online back-up, virtual private servers (VPS), cloud hosting, etc. Please visit our main website for more information about us.

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