BSNL Broadband Buying Decision
Much has been talked of the BSNL’s broadband, which clearly sucks. I wish I had clear indicators to help me decide about the buying decision. However, that was not to be and hence I decided to write for the same. In one sentence about the buying decision. Do not buy it.
The main reason is that BSNL has decided to abuse its monopoly for the spread of Internet. It is clearly indicated in the previous posts. Broadband should ideally be minus the restrictions that are imposed on, for effective use. After the announcement, TouchTel in New Delhi is planning to introduce newer tariffs. This would indeed be cheaper and hence reinforces the fact that these telecom companies want to milk the customer and leave with no real option. Even if we assume that the services are guaranteed to be good, this Blog on Sify broadband would not have come up in the first place. It merely exposes the double crap talk of these companies in offering broadband when they are offering something marginally better than dial up. Competition would force them to improve or else face the loss of customers.
Anyway, first the cost. The modem should have a buyback agreement. Incase one needs to switch over to another service provider, your investment in the modem would go waste. Would you sell that as scrap? What if the warranty is not honored by BSNL? I have not come across any statement that they are bound to replace a defective piece should you be unfortunate of landing up with one. More appropriately, there could be a nominal charge for the same. This charge could be refundable if you decide to terminate the services.
Unlimited Internet in BSNL’s parlance invariably means 24 hours connection. It has no relation to the data download or the limit for which you would be charged anyway.
The primary focus here is on the home user. For business users the packages are so exorbitant that it makes no commercial sense to invest money. Who is subsidizing whom?
I believe that even after the big launch in the metros, it is going to come at the end users by last week of January or the first week of February. Despite claims by BSNL to improve the customer service theirs remains, the worst ever experience. The Internet helpline is perennially busy or the engineer sitting at the other end is typical one of stunted development. I have encountered them from close quarters and at best, they remain good enough to draw their monthly salaries. They never seem to forget that! Perhaps this remains true for other service providers also. The next synonym for the word Idiot could be Customer Service Associate or Customer Care Executive. I am waiting for that day. BSNL is dumps down in any technical issue and resolving the downtime could take ages. If you are the kind of person who wakes up with computer on, is clearly in for disappointment.
I have already talked off the download limits. How do these people propose to affect this? If at all you feel aggrieved about being charged excessively, could you possibly haggle with the billing complaint? These people have their own “intelligent” system to deal with the billing queries and I am better off without the hassles of running around trying to get my bills rectified from an abusive sarkari babu.
It is best to wait for about 3 months. I believe according to media reports, that TRAI is going to affect drop in prices of international bandwidth and hopefully the prices should fall further. In addition, of course, the best kept secret of Reliance entering in the broadband. From insider sources, I have heard that the mobile telephony is using up major chunk of their resources and attention at present. This was supposed to have finished off by December last year but the final date has been pushed by two more months. However, there are pointers that broadband maybe affected sooner.
In 1999, the unified licensing was announced. It benefited Reliance who entered the mobile business by paying much less than others did. There was a huge hue and cry but everything settled down. At that point, of time, Reliance affected change in policy to suit itself. TRAI recently mandated that telecom companies could now offer Cable Television and currently only Reliance has made its intentions clear about the same. There was a recent report in Newsweek that Reliance has tied up with Microsoft to offer television over internet. Its plans to enter the cable TV market are huge with investments being made in creating content. Hence, the efforts being made to stream in digital television through set top boxes. Currently this is the case in areas where it is on a trial basis. Commercial launch of REAL broadband would take time for which no firm dates are known at present. It could even by the end of this month or by the end of this year.
By simple logic, if Reliance has to enter the cable TV market it has to compete with the local Cable TV Operator. This means that its offering should be less than what currently is being offered by means of prices. Realizing this early on as a threat to the established business, Hathway forayed in offering ISP services through cable. Reliance has to set up the entire infrastructure and they would not mind in doing so since the quality issues would be directly handled by them. The cost does not matter at all. Witness the revolution they got in dipping the tariffs really low. This means that they can sustain persistent losses because end result is the market share. Once that is realised, it could turn profitable. Cable TV business remains low margin business with long gestation period.
If TRAI does not play spoilsport, predatory prices by Reliance would spoil the party for everyone. Insider sources claim that they are watching the foray of other telecom companies with interest. Perhaps they could even offer set top boxes for free. BSNL would be the biggest looser on the broadband front. However, they too are planning to offer television trough ADSL. Is anyone interested in watching Door Darshan?
I would ideally wait for Reliance to announce its plans and have BSNL realize that they are basically a bunch of monopolists. In order to survive, they ought to fight back on the prices.
However, currently if BSNL offers unlimited downloads and uploads, as we all understand without volume based or time based billing, its a big YES. I would not mind the cost of the modem then. The main reason is that it has set up a world-class supporting infrastructure to carry the data. This is again the inside information that is leaking out on this website. The end support remains useless. That is the main hindrance.
I sincerely hope that the days of having LAN parties and real multi player online gaming are here with speeds in excess of 2Mbps. It would be a dream and wish come true.