Tuesday, January 08, 2008

In city, out of network!

As much as you’d wish to believe that things are changing as far as the connectivity and customer experience in India is concerned, there seems to be a long way to go. Wishes, for the most part, remain hearty wishes.

To cut it to the meat – I shifted my place of stay; moved into a relatively up-market place; applied for internet connection transfer, and there was no ruffle for about a fortnight. We kept trying to track the transfer request, and about 10 calls later, someone in the service provider (Airtel) conceded that they cannot ‘transfer’ my connection from ‘A’ to ‘B’ because the broadband capacity in ‘B’ is full and will take some months before the bandwidth is increased to accommodate new connections/transfers.

My first reaction: I thought it was a joke. And then, it started to sound ironic.

I just had to dig out an ET article I read a couple of months ago.

India’s experience with broadband is a bit like the cricket team. Both look better on paper. Both have more potential than performance. And both have enormous money riding on them. This year may have been declared the year of broadband by the government, but in every other way, the targets look as distant now as they have been in past two years.

India has just 2.3 million broadband subscribers. That translates into a 0.2% broadband penetration compared to 19.6% in the US, 20% in the UK and 32% in smaller countries such as Denmark and Iceland.

In other words, the Government is bent on making service a reality, there’s a market for it, but the existing service providers don’t have the capacity to even retain existing connections.

My biggest grouch is why I was not even informed of this problem. If there is a problem, I would want to know. It’s a fair deal for any long time customer. I didn’t travel to the Airtel office in the city center wasting my time & petrol for nothing. For me, being out of internet makes me something similar to claustrophobic. And I wasn’t even informed of the problem. Grouches.

I’d most likely shift to a different service provider.


At Wednesday, January 09, 2008 9:42:00 AM, Blogger Jam said...

Hey Govar,

Situation in Hyderabad is no better man. In fact one of the first things I learnt about the city here is that almost all the Broadband companies operate in a 'proxy mafia' kind of environment. Area X is served by Airtel only, Area Y is served by BSNL only, Area Z is served by Sify only. And man, do they scratch each others' backs well or what.

Even if Airtel accepts your deposit, they promptly return it after a month with a subtle hint to go to Sify in Area Z. And apparently this happens with other companies in other areas as well.

Go figure!!! And here we are expecting competition to improve customer experience.


At Thursday, January 10, 2008 8:34:00 AM, Blogger i i said...

Jam's right. I've seen my friends bugged by such problems in Chennai too.

Weird excuses like "We dont have permission to dig in this area, so we cant lay any new lines to your particular locality". (Huh?)


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