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BSNL's new mystery broadband service

November 26, 2004

BSNL, our wonderful government telecom provider, has of late been putting out big newspaper advertisements touting its great new broadband service called DataOne. These ads are remarkable in that they contain absolutely no information except that they're introducing a new service. That, and their web site URL is all.

A couple of weeks ago, there was absolutely no information on their web site either - all very perplexing at the time. Today, there was yet another ad about DataOne, but once more no information about plans or cost. After today's ad, I checked their site again. Now they even have an FAQ about the service.

So does it help? Nope, that's basically a page about what ADSL is. The two most important things you need to know are completely missing: available throughput and pricing. Here's what the page has to say about it:

How about Broadband Plans and Pricing?

These will be declared very soon. Meanwhile you can fill up the registration form so that we can work out the logistics for your connection.

They even have a form you can fill up to get a connection even though you don't know what you'll get and for how much. (The form is an image. Wow!)

It contains the helpful clarification:

* Tariff will be most competitive in the industry

** Data rate of 256 kbps and above

That sure tells you a lot, doesn't it?

According to Kingsly, who has spoken to some BSNL folks, they have yet to decide on download speeds and tariff, and the service is supposed to launched only around 15 January. So why on earth are they wasting money on advertisements if they haven't worked out any of the important details yet? Who knows? Somebody on the india-gii list thought that it was because they wanted to use their ad budget in this financial year. Ah, that explains it all, doesn't it?

I'm waiting to be pleasantly surprised by BSNL giving us a 512 Kbps unlimited connection for about 2000 bucks a month. I'm currently on the Touchtel Airtel Broadband 128 kbps DSL plan which costs approximately Rs. 1450 per month with all the fine print charges included. It's already saving me about 5000 Rupees every month, but I'd love to have some higher throughput. That 128 Kbps is called "broadband" in this country is downright shameful.

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