If you really want to piss me off, mess with my family, my home, or something I've poured blood, sweat, time, energy and every cent I can muster into.
This morning at 6:05 our system alerted us to the Helderberg high site having disconnected. When we saw the message and dashed up the mountain, this is what we found:
At 6:05, while it was still dark and no-one was around, some bloody idiot had climbed the 6 metre tower, forced open the equipment box and broken the locks, ignored the alarm and strobe light until they'd cut through the power cables, stole the backup battery, cut the main power, cut the antenna wires to every single antenna on the outside, and then attempted to set fire to the whole thing.
And I'm pissed off in a very big way.
It was obviously done by someone who knows that removing a radio card or router board will "call home" as soon as it's plugged in elsewhere - and lead us straight to them. Those weren't touched. Whoever did this did so merely to take out our service and disable us, a malicious attempt to put us out of business. They planned it for early on a Saturday, as we won't be able to get replacement parts from our suppliers until Monday. They planned it for a day where the next door farm labourers weren't around, and a time where folk were sleeping in instead of getting up for work. And one of our competitors is the chief suspect along with a potential partner in crime. It's a pairing of motive and opportunity - one feeds info and spies, the other tells him what to do.
Just after our tower went up, one half reported us to ICASA (the regulating body in South Africa) for having an illegal tower and equipment. ICASA did a site visit and found nothing amiss. The same half has given us endless kak and complaints, spied on us constantly and tried his level best to put us out of business. The second half of the suspicious duo has attempted using illegal equipment to blast our signal out of the sky, to spread the word that we're operating illegally, and to drive customers away from our doors.
And now this.
It's taken all day and 6 trips up the mountain to sort out opening a police docket for theft, sabotage and attempted arson, to get the CSI up there for fingerprints (got a real beauty smack-bang where the bloke climbed the tower), get the detectives up, and then fix what we can fix now. We finished the last task in the dark. Insurance claims kick in next, along with plans for additional security - although only our site was targeted, and it's more secure than most up there.
But I'm pissed off tonight - very pissed off. I have poured everything I've got into this business, as has Favourite Man. Even the kid's involved with helping out. We've had late nights, early mornings, midnight customer support and day-long plain hard work to grow this company. We've done everything more than book-right, tuned our system to perfection and given our customers outstanding service, support and help-on-demand.
Others are playing very dirty to get rid of us - but you know what, there's two ways to deal with this.
One is to give up and go away.
The other is to come back fighting, stronger than ever.
Guess which one they're going to have to deal with. They won't get rid of us that easily.