I currently hold the appellative of beta tester in my household society. I test ISPs, which stands for Internet Service Providers. Having used almost every single providers out there from commercial-grade behemoths like Reliance to local fledglings like YOU Broadband, from government disabilities like MTNL to mysterious-firms-that-sport-a-foreign-name like Hathaway, I now am planning to add this experience to my resume, although I am unsure about its credibility. You should know, a subtle lass next door who grins at my technical know-how every time I reboot her router, soon will fall for me and that will make me a suitor who steals his partner’s Wi-Fi, which in fact is the prime reason of her router getting clogged.
While I cannot enlist all the ISPs, I am sure the following interpretations will make your life easier than it is in Africa.
First of all, you should understand how these companies, who solely work for gains, provide the connection. It is not how you think it is. Marred by local political protocols and cost-cutting, I will call it pure genius by the way they do it.
Modus Operandi: Your net connection sucks at a download speed of 40 KBps and faintly useless upload speed of 100 KBps. (I know you don’t seed your torrents, you middle-class pirate!) And some ghost has just slipped a flyer inside your house that advertises a new ISP or one which has just arrived in town. Great! The unlimited packages (no one buys limited or day/night packages anymore; if you are one of them, then you are at heavy loss) look promising and Dad’s leaking bank account will still blame your Mom. So you have decided the package after some petty calculations and asked the folks to arrive by evening. They’ll turn up an hour later and you will have mixed emotions over the whole scenario.
Now, what you get is a single RJ-45 connector cable and a combination of User ID & password which will be worse than what you enter in a CAPTCHA test. What happens outside your residence is always a mystery. Today, it will be debunked.
If you’re living in a residential building, chances are, your committee members suck. They are the sworn enemies of these ISPs. And these ISPs, on the other hand, send their best men who can convince the committee members and can even have a fling with any of the members’ daughter. History makes me state these examples.
So, there is a routing modem which works on Direct Current (DC; harmless to an extent which charges your smartphone and that is why you don’t get a shock every time your Mom insists not to tough the pin). Not only does your colony has Alternating Current (AC; the one which gets people electrocuted in the streets of Mumbai mainly due to live wires during monsoons) source, but also it’s committee will whine like a street dog to give this ISP the required power. Lots of connections in one modem – but it requires only a single source. Who will provide this source?
Obviously, the colony should and the ISP will pay for it. But the ISP will coax one of the customers to share his household power which will be first converted to DC using a cheap adapter. This is cost-cutting. And when this particular customer is fed up of the service (I’ll tell you why later), he will disconnect the source and everyone suffers. This is tactics or jugaad. You will call the customer care and thirteen days later, you will hear a knock on your main door. “That should be the Internet guy!” “Oh, yes! It is. He’s come for payment!” This is genius.
Also, when many users share a modem, chances are, you will be having a terribly slower connection on weekends, because the traffic is large at that time of the week. On Mondays at around 1357 hours, you should get a speed ten times your original. Keep checking!
Next, not a single ISP has born in Mumbai which will give you uninterrupted Internet access. At least once, they will blame it on power issues, back-end problem, server crash and blah blah blah, all of which are out of the scope of this article.
And now it is time to review these ISPs and shed light to why our AC source provider got fed up with his ISP:
These brand names never have any hassle of power or server crash. They’ll keep changing your IP and that is more than enough to get frustrated.
- Reliance: Their CDMA mobile network connection is the best. Their internet connection is the worst, mostly because they are upgrading their servers (since 2011 start) and have still not completed uninstalling the older one. Every day, their Kopar Khairane office gets thousands of calls from irate consumers. Don’t get fooled by their ads, their hidden costs are astronomical.
- Vodafone: The most expensive ISP out there. They will drag you into the streets with their ambiguous billing system.
- Tata Docomo: The network is the worst and IRCTC website will pay you if you once get through the whole website.
- Idea/MTS/Others: Ask a person who uses their mobile network connection and keep quiet.
The following ones are on loss yet they will refine your Marathi.
- MTNL: Sounds like a hotshot. “Government ke naam pe dhabba,” is the apt sentence. Their landline connections will get you an address proof for that Domicile certificate or Aadhar card, but MTNL Broadband is a strict no-no, mostly because they have banned all peer-to-peer websites, song download websites and politically incorrect ones, too. Imagine a day without The Pirate Bay?
- BSNL: Find out the full form and just browse their website once, you won’t complain. Purely terrible. Although, their WiMAX connection sounds good.
The following are my specialties and they are the most robust ones in case of transfer rates.
- SSV – 5NET or I-ON: 5net will give you an average speed of 5 MBps if you procure a 1 MBps unlimited plan. Their service is very good if you are ready to share your power with the modem. I-ON sucks and is a usual prey to hardware crash and power issues. In case of both, never go for annual packages even if they cut your deposit. That’s a trap! Alway ask for 5NET as they have different servers for both.
- Tikona: The second best option when it comes to wireless broadband. It has an ingenious technology of providing internet to its users which qualifies it a provider to check out. Although the general consensus isn’t that good, check this specific review here.
- YOU BROADBAND: I have used this for 6 years and post-2011, they dwindled, mainly because they widened to whole of India and focused more on providing free Wi-Fi at the Mumbai International Airport. Their packages are costly and you will miss quarter of the actual speed you should get.
- Hathaway: They are very lazy and will turn up at your house, in case of unavailability of Internet, after a week or two staring from when they think about your complaint.
That’s all. If you have any issues in procuring a valid Internet connection, feel free to contact me. And if you are a victim of poor ISP service, then I WILL add your story here. Let’s make Mumbai a better place for our net-savvy comrades who get up in the morning only to check their Facebook notifications and get a daily dose of the most addictive thing today, the virtual world.