15 Feb

Sify broadband or fraudband?!!

I was just looking into available broadband options in my home city (Rohtak). I occasionally do that out of curiosity.

I came across Sify broadband and interesting thing this time was – they seem to have renovated their website!

Here’s the new site. I tried looking into available home plans applicable for my home city.

Last plan – 1Mbps unlimited usage plan for just 898Rs a month. At first glance an unlimited 1Mbps for just 900Rs a month seems quite nice, but as we can see double stars, I was quite sure that it must be having a Fair Usage Policy. I scrolled to bottom of page, and found this message associated with ** – Only in Select Locations

Only this? So is 1Mbps plan is truly an unlimited plan? I tried looking into FAQ and found answer:

Most Internet service providers enforce a fair usage policy to control the data downloading limit. After you download a particular amount of data, either you are charged   extra or your speed become lower than before. While they call the product �Unlimited�, an FUP which comes as a special condition takes away the real purpose of the product.
We at sify practice what we preach. None of our unlimited products have a ceiling on downloads. So we do not enforce restrictive/ fair usage policy on our customers.

Well, this was just unexpected. So they are claiming that their plans are “truly” unlimited without any download caps. Impressive!

Next, I went into link given on footer – “Manual Of Practice” and found this:

Policy : For those heavy users who however continue to remain on unlimited products the following rate shall apply :Usage on unlimited service packs will be considered as one calendar day or 150MB in a day whichever is earlier. If the usage exceeds 150 MB in a day, one day in validity will be reduced for every 25 MB of usage beyond 150 MB. This is explained in detail as follows:Upto 150 MB utilization in each day…..No deduction of days validity For every 25 MB utilization beyond 150 MB within each day, one days validity will be reduced.

WHAT WHAT WHAT??? That’s big cheating!

Even worst then this….

I have seen many ISP’s claiming “truly” unlimited and later capping down speeds after certain level, but this one is just crazy! 1day for each 25MB!

What the hell is FUP and do we really need it?

Ok, let me come to point – FUP is simply Fair Usage Policy meaning a policy to have “fair usage”. Fair interms of broadband networks just mean that users do not put excessive load on “shared” network that it effects other user’s experience. In India most of consumer based broadband networks have a contention ratio of 1:30 to 1:50 – which means whatever ISP’s sell is actually shared between 30 or 50 users simultaneously.

I have seen FUP policy of US based ISP’s like Comcast, Verizon etc. They have a capping of speeds or just temporary suspension of service when user crosses a limit of like ~200GB a month range. To be true – 200GB a month is surely very big number and (home) users can’t really touch that unless they really use connection in super bad manner. Now, when it comes to India – a cap of 150MB a day (here in case of sify) is just shameful!  Even a youtube video takes like 25MB. So watching just 6 youtube videos is like “putting pressure on network” even when ISP is claiming big with – “On demand video”… It’s just like

Is Sify’s network so much degraded and of such a low quality by excessive overselling that they can’t handle traffic more then just 150MB/day?

If yes – then either they should invest $$$ to improve or just get out of this business. I wish TRAI and doT were more serious for broadband also (apart from telecom stuff).

With hope that things will eventually get better, time to say bye!

Have a uncapped year ahead 🙂

13 Jan

Experience with MNP in Haryana

Recently lucky mobile users in Haryana got MNP i.e Mobile Number Portability.

I too ported my number out from Airtel to Tata Docomo. Reason remains the super slow GPRS network (yup gprs, not even upgraded to EDGE in most of Haryana) and crazy service activation followed by irritating sms’es.

Here’s my experience with MNP:

It took around 20 days in porting of my number, and technically speaking – process is yet not (hundred percent) completed even after a month!

One of the problems with system is that whenever one requests for a porting code, it is valid for 15days. If we request for porting code again (via sms) we get same code, with same validity. In my case, I request for code, but I submitted documents for porting after 13days of my initial request. On the day of submission, I requested for code again, and got same code which was expiring after 2days. I did informed retailer about it, but he had no clue. Eventually I submitted form. Next, documents reached company by 16th (or to the middle guy), and they triggered request for porting on 16th day with same old code.

Result: Port out request failed, because porting code was expired!

It took me over a week to realize that, and eventually I submitted documents again. I submitted documents on Monday, and on a fine thursday evening I realized that I didn’t got any call or sms that day! Later, I found I was even not able to send any sms. Outgoing calls were going fine via Airtel connection.

I got clue, and tried using Tata Docomo sim card, and it worked!

All was OK other then fact that I was not able to recieve calls from Airtel users on Tata’s sim. Callers were getting message – “The Airtel number you have dialed is switched off!”

At this point of time I realized a big problem – due to some bugs in system, new carrier actually accepted my number, while Airtel has yet not ported out my number. Good was that I started getting calls even from Airtel users within a day. Logically speaking all was going OK, other then fact that my Airtel connection still works for outgoing, and even at the time of blogging (after a month of porting) it’s still up!

Tata Docomo customer support has no clue about it while Airtel support always requests me to visit Airtel relationship center to get this fixed. (Why really? Can’t they do this ONLINE?!)

Here’s few points about MNP based on my experience:

  1. 15 day rule can be problem.
    As said above – if one submits docs for porting after 13-14days of initial request of port code, there are chances of rejection of request, as it normally takes 2-3 days for request to be registered in system of new operator, and technically initialization of request.
  2. During middle period there is NO WAY to find the status of porting. I have transfered various domain names from various registrars to others, and it is very good that one can get real time step-by-step status of that. It makes absolutely no sense in implementing MNP in such dark manner.
  3. Apart from latest online status, I expect there should be clear norms about who is going to provide support to end user during period. Both carriers – Airtel and Tata Tele’s customer support informed me that they don’t have any mechanism of looking into a number’s detail about porting and only way in case of trouble is to visit company office. That’s just crazy!  Again, this is not a DSL link problem that one needs to visit central office to get line fixed. Even at those offices there are NO technical persons. They are again company support representatives who sit in front of a terminal. Incase of any technical glitch, they can’t do much other then escalating it to technical team, which goes via few “in-house” engineers, before getting off to external outsourced team of equipment vendors.
  4. Based on the way it’s going – in Haryana MNP is causing huge subscriber loss to BSNL and Airtel. Gainers are usually Tata Docomo, and Aircel. I think launch of MNP in rest of India will probably get delayed. Reason remains with the incumbent private carriers.
  5. As of now there are no plans for inter-circle portability i.e you can port number only within a circle, and not out of telecom circle. So if you move from NCR circle to say Bangalore in South India, you can’t port out your number.
    “Technically very hard to implement” – claimed by one of telecom guys. Reality – telcos love roaming 😛

And yes, now I am one of the “3G user”  in India!

and here’s a quick speed test:

Will be posting my experience with Tata Docomo 3G in other post.

Thanks for reading.