Sunday, November 28, 2010

Backing up BSNL's pathetic Internet service with Tata Photon Plus

So finally after putting up with BSNL's crap internet service that conks out at a drop of rain or gust of wind, I finally bought myself a Tata Photon.
The claim is that it can provide "up to" 3.1 Mbps for a limited amount of data (15GB). After the limit is exceeded it drops to 128 Kbps for an unlimited amount.

Apparently the reason for the limit is a TRAI "advisory" (sounds similar to the one that bans VoiP to PSTN switching unless the gateway is outside India). More about the "advisory" soon if I can find it.
The Tata Photon experience was pretty good. Ms Pratibha @ Excellent Communications in Mayur Vihar was able to answer all my questions without treating me like a retard, which was a rather rare treat from "IT wallahs" in Delhi.
The rest of the gang, callers from Janakpuri, Malviya Nagar et al sounded like they couldn't care less about the sale, nor did they have their facts straight.

The folks at excellent communications even sent over someone to collect my documentation. The guy who showed up was able to install the product (points deducted for not being willing to essay a Mac, but he did pretty well with the Acer EEEPc I handed him).
Photon Plus is apparently the only version thats available to us lower mortals in NCR. Photon Pro (the Verizon MiFi equivalent) will apparently not be launched anywhere except Mumbai initially (comments welcome)
So far Photon seems to work pretty well, even though the modem is a Huawei (not happy about that, they have a bad rep in my book after their "alleged" industrial espionage stories, but clearly Tata is happy to do business with them, so I suppose I can too)
At last test from, the speed I got was about a meg (1 Mbps) to Palo Alto. Beats BSNL at any rate. AND they have a "Customer Care Number"...W00t!

Pricing for Tata Photon Plus:
INR 1600 for the device (apparently Excellent Communications @ Mayur Vihar is offering a discount)
INR 1500 p.m. post paid for 15 GB @ "upto" 3.1 Mbps and 128 Kbps thereafter, with an INR 200 discount per month for a year. Not too bad at all, assuming the service stays reliable.

This in contrast with apprx INR 750-900 for BSNL, which uses a Nokia wireless modem that needs frequent stroking to work, gives me under 1Mbps (sometimes around 512 Kbps) with absolutely no reliability, no customer service and when it conks out you have to call the SDO (Govt official) and grovel.
To BSNL's credit though, they did fix the "broken cable" that blew out my connectivity and prompted the Photon purchase, on a weekend.

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