I have been trying to get a Broadband connection to my home in R.A. Puram for a
month now. Haven't succeeded. I thought I'd share my experiences.
1. Dishnet. I was in touch with the sales representative Preeti Menon. She put
me in touch with some technical personnel after several weeks worth of email
exchanges. The experience was unpleasant.
Dishnet claims to offer the fastest residential broadband at 512 kb/s. Their
residential package features USB modems from Aztech and Centillium. These come
with Windows drivers only. They claim that they've tested with Linux and it
doesn't work. Won't work with Win2K or any non-Windows OS. Price of package:
Rs. 7000 registration (one time) + Rs. 1000 (monthly). These charges include
modem rental. Modems cannot be purchased outright.
For Linux and UNIX (which they assume is only for corporate use), they offer
corporate router service (Motorola Broadmax router). Cost: Rs. 50K
(registration) + Rs. 1000 (monthly). Alternatively, Rs. 15K (registration) +
Rs. 1200 (monthly) for however many months to reach a registration of Rs. 50K
(essentially, registration is paid through instalments).
They openly stated that there is virtually no demand for Linux client support
and their folks are not planning to ask the vendors for Linux drivers for their
Their sales folks don't know what they're talking about. They were confused
whether their offering is cable based or DSL based!
2. Touchtel. They offer USB ADSL modems. Windows drivers only. Their service
offerings are in the range 128-256 kb/s. For Linux clients, they offer a
router. Cost: Rs. 10K (registration) + Rs. 6K (purchase of router) + plan fee.
Plan fee varies from hundreds to thousands of rupees per month depending on the
speed and max. transfer per month. Rental plans are available for the router.
Touchtel service comes with a phone line whether you want it or not.
Touchtel cell phone centers do not know anything about their broadband service.
3. Hathway. They are not offering service to my home. Their plan features an
RJ45 Ethernet connection as the endpoint. OS agnostic. Their plan has a
registration fee of Rs. 1K. The 100MB/month 128 kb/s plan costs Rs. 300/month
or Rs. 3000/year. The SMTP charge that they advertise on their website is not
applicable to Chennai.
4. Sify. Their connection is the most peculiar. Whereas other services run a
cable to the endpoint, Sify connects the endpoint to their equipment on the
rooftop which wirelessly communicates with similar equipment at the rooftop of
the local cable operator. The endpoint is RJ45 Ethernet -- OS agnostic. Their
services offers 64-256 kb/s. Monthly rates vary. Registration and installation
fee is max. Rs. 3500 but could be lower if they have provisioned service for
others in the area.
The sales personnel will state that they have transferred your case to local
marketing executives for feasibility determination. These marketing executives
are supposed to get in touch with the customer within a day or two. You'll be
lucky if you ever hear from them.
None of these providers care to woo the customer or keep him/her happy. The
customer is expected to call repeatedly to find the status of his/her case.
All in all, it has been a very frustrating experience. I'm forced to stick with
VSNL dialup for the moment.