Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Somebody, Anybody Give me a 4Mb link to the Web.


As I write this, I am angry and frustrated with my ISP. I typed most of this with one finger on my phone because my Internet connection is not working, and no one is answering their 24-hour helpline and my only option at this moment is a stupidly expensive MTN 3G connection that will cost me 15k per kilobyte because I don't have a contract with them. The only other option is to not post my blog tonight, but that will break my commitment to post on Tuesday. 3 posts into a new blog would not be a good time to start missing schedules.

Not the Plan

This was meant to be a part 2 to my post on backups. I was going to talk about backing up to the Internet, it's advantages, the various sites and mechanisms available and some of the challenges. Well one of the biggest challenges is the cost and quality of Internet service in Nigeria. I was pretty green with envy when a classmate of mine the UK was celebrating 4Mb to his house! My company is forced right now to make do with 6Mb due to the SAT3 outage! Now the SAT3 thing is a different story all by itself, but my gripe right now is this: the Internet is no longer a novelty and a plaything for the “technoscenti” in Nigeria. It is an increasingly important part of our daily lives essential to communication, the forming of relationships, ecommerce, the dissemination of information and entertainment.

The big cog in the wheel of the rapid adoption of the internet as a communication medium is the quality and speed of our Internet services. Simply put, a handful of satellite connections and one subsea cable is not enough. The unreliability of the connections and the poor customer service of the providers means that there is a long way to go before we can be completely dependent on the Internet for critical services without investing in (sometimes multiple) backup connections.

The Usual Suspects

My ISP is DirectOnPC with their "Unwired" broadband product. It is generally reliable and for me, most importantly, there is no data cap. In addition they provide service in PH and Abuja. However, they just raised their charges, citing the rise in the price of the US dollar. More popular in Lagos (among people I know anyway) are services from Starcomms, MTN's 3G service and a lot of my peers use IPNX. However both IPNX and MTN have data caps. I absolutely refuse to use anyone that does a data cap for my primary ISP. This is the day of internet video calling, music and movie downloads and streaming, uploading pictures and yes, backing up data online. Data caps should be outlawed. As I mentioned earlier, MTN charges 15k per kilobyte if you don't enter into a 10 or 5 thousand naira contract with them. In other words, if you use their service without a contract and reach their data cap of 3GB you could potentially end up with a N150,000.00 bill.

What ISP do you use and what are your experiences with them? Tell us about your Internet service horror stories. If you have really good experiences let us know, we just might switch.


As I was rounding this up, my internet connection came back up. Too late. I’ll blog about backing up to the Internet next week. If something else doesn’t get my dander up.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great write up! We sure need faster and more reliable internet services in Nigeria.

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