Wednesday, January 9, 2008

broad band

Yeah right! Since when did bandwidth of two hundred and fifty six kilobits per second become broad? Despite all the excitement about IT in India, broadband costs, QoS and penetration are appalling.

I recently switched my ISP. BSNL had had a few consecutive days of interruptions and their false promises just got to me. And I had been eyeing the upgrade to a 512 kbps line for some time. Airtel had been advertising their Rs. 1999 a month, 512 kbps connection which, at double the cost of the 256 kbps one, is a little high. Don't these guys realise that doubling the bandwidth does NOT mean double the cost? Anyhow, I chanced upon a similar broadband plan on their website, with only higher telephone call rates for Rs. 1499 a month and called their salesman to sign me up for that. To my astonishment, he at first refused to believe there was such a plan and kept trying to sell me the other more expensive one. The long and short of it is that I got what I wanted for an affordable rate.

During the signing up process I got talking with the salesman about how bandwidth was so expensive. My brother in Hyderabad says the standard rates there are about a nine hundred bucks for a 384 kbps line - which is 50% cheaper than here. So this salesman dude tells me that in Bangalore no one cares about the broadband expense. Most of his customers work at IT MNCs and get reimbursed for their broadband expenses by their companies. Hence they don't even bat an eyelid at shelling out a 1000 bucks for a measly 256kbps (which also is a best effort claim) or whatever the "standard" rates are.

Shocking. There is no economic incentive for either the service providers or the consumers to increase quality of service and/or reduce charges.

I can't think of any solution to this. It is a larger problem than just broadband reimbursements. These all-expenses-paid perks and habits really trounce the notional value of money or goods or services, as the case may be.


srid said...

and maybe that's why Amazon India has a measly monthly limit (Rs. 1500) on broadband reimbursement.

Umang said...

Actually it is Rs. 1250. :-)
But it's not measly... it's just the standard limit everyone else has too. And therefore everyone else has the same plan of 256 kbps, unlimited download. And even the ISPs work their plans according to these limits.

Abhishek Goyal said...

Well ... I got my connection switched to 1499 plan a couple of days back.

Umang said...

Yep. That's what I eventually got too.