India and its Internet woes!

Internet, for the aam admi in India started with good old dial up in the 2000s via state monopoly vsnl and progressed to broadband . Chk my previous post on the Communication revolution and Internet evolution .

Of late, the Submarine cable damage has meant sporadic and frequently disconnecting connections with pathetic speeds. look at the world cable map

Do u see the red cables , now u get the picture (from livemint)
In Mumbai, as broadband was introduced most dial ups got redundant and players like Vsnl simply forgot about Terms of Service in dialup, and the connection speeds and bandwith throughput got pathetic.

The broadband revolution came soon after the telecom revolution during the Vajpayee govt which allowed pvt players in the arena. Infact my very 2nd post was Choosing that Broadband ISP.

What ails broadband in India ?

1. Consumption Restrictions

Now they don’t tell u this but ALL ISPs restrict bandwith ie they put limits like u can consume only x mbs according to x plan, which makes no sense as broadband connection should mean an Always on connection.

2. Bandwidth Restrictions

Most ISPs have different plans, and place consumption limits accordingly and this affects speed.

In fact i have a theory Bandwidth is inversely proportional to dload limit, more the bandwith promised ie unlimited download lesser will be the speed and More the Speed promised lesser will the consumption allowed in the basic plan.

eg mtnl basic plan 2Mb – speed actual nywhere between 6 kb to 200kb download limit 400 mb. Its unlimited plan costs Rs 20,000 a month. Hathway unlimited plan restricts speed to 64k or 3/6 k dload speed.

3. Speed Restrictions

Now this is a killer

All isps only manage to give u 10% speed max of what is promised u do the math. Worse, this is only at off peak hours, and in peak hrs expect 5 to 7% of bandwith promised. For psu providers if there is some national event like a satellite launch, submarine cable damage kiss the 10% godbye, u will be lucky to get 5% throughput even at night. Nita now u know why i like to surf at night ..

4. Mail Restrictions

The ISPs block smtp servers of other ISPs. eg u wont be able to send mail with a vsnl/Tata domain on an Mtnl connection or any other isp or vice versa.

5. Availability Restrictions and poor demand assessment

Mtnl had a huge wait time of 6 mths to get a broadband connection in certain pockets, but hey this could also be the case for BSNL. Some pvt isps dont even cater to far flung or off centre areas and prefer to cater to dense urban clusters.They don’t bother to launch in areas deemed not economical ..

Forgeting about the Terms of Service, Improper ADSL installation, Unstable connections and pathetic Customer service

Terms of service is something alien to this country. Like our revered politicians and their promises, most of the ISPs forget about the TOS as they have little danger of punitive legal action from customers, no Class action suits or punitive damages here , legal system is so good that cases take ages to solve and a decade is minimum wait time. Now don’t blame only the govt ISPs – the pvt ones can be rogues too, and bigger rogues when they are at it.

The TRAI which is the monitoring body, which has done some great things to the betterment of the Phone revolution is still to get its real powers or teeth as Central Govts still prefer centralized control.

Even in Mumbai, if u have a problem it takes ages to sort out, infact in our area Mtnl has scored much better in terms of turnaround time to sort out a problem than pvt players. A neighbor who complained to tata broadband 3 mths ago is still facing problems and her matter is still not sorted out.

Please folks , don’t think im doing MTNL bashing cause i still consider it the best net connection in my area, much better than private players … but from my experience :

Mtnls Server to chk consumption is never working. Infact it works for 5 /20 days in a month, last month it only worked for 4 days. Some of the linesmen Mtnl sends dont have a clue on how ADSL works. Of late their speed sucks and at noon sometimes even gmail doesnt load up so u go figure.

Net net we still live in restrictions raj. Why does this happen ?

Poor Planning Corrupt Procurement/Tender policy, Centralized procurement policy which depends on the ays and nays of the ever changing telecom minister and the babus and poor demand assessment and mainly lack of foresight and thinking big.

The time taken from assessing demand, taking a decision to getting the exchange working and cables installed is so large that by the time things are in place the demand has gone up 10 fold, and whatever is installed is clogged up.

So folks, we are still far far away from the unrestricted 8mb broadband lines offered in Europe and Us, dont even bother comparing India with small highly wired nation like South Korea or Japan which offer video and full 3g services on mobiles.

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