Internet is no more a luxury but a necessity these days. People like me who work from home and are online 24×7, good and reliable connectivity is a must to ensure our bread and butter. It is here the broadband comes in as a life saver. Mind you this article is for the new bees who are fed up with their dial up connections and are contemplating switch over to Broadband connection
Broadband lets you access the Internet with lightening speed. How? don’t ask me! I am not a techie. Broadband (BB) service in Himachal are now available in all major cities and even in few fortunate villages. BB service in Himachal is provided by the state run BSNL. To get a BB connection you require a telephone land line first. Once that accomplished, in this era of mobile phones, you can install a BB at your home or office. To apply for a BB connection in Shimla one needs to go to the BSNL office at the Mall popularly known as Targhar.
BSNL offers a plethora of schemes. The best part of BB is the telephone line is not blocked and nor you get charged for the telephone usage as is in the case of Dial up connection. So you can talk on the telephone while connected to BB. You can check the various plans offered by BSNL
You also require to pay for a modem while installing the connection. You have an option to go for a Wi-Fi modem or an attached modem. Wi-Fi modem is wireless and in case you use a laptop, Wi-Fi modem is the best as you can work anywhere at home without bothering to connect wires to the modem. You have an option of either renting or purchasing the modem. A Wi-Fi modem costs 1800 plus 4% VAT and the other one costs 1400 plus VAT. In case of renting option you pay 90/ per month for the Wi-Fi modem and 60/ per month for the other modem. The catch here is that you pay the full amount as security which is refundable and then pay monthly charges.
In a nut shell, it is better to buy the modem and if you have a laptop, buy a Wi-Fi modem.
One has to be very particular about the usage and billing of BB. Plan 125 and 250 are good only if you have limited usage and you stick to it. In case you exceed the usage, which happens normally, the billing can be enormous. Mind you we Indians pay the highest BB charges anywhere in the world. Even if you stick to the usage, a plan 250/- will cost you 400/- per month after incurring the rental charges for a Wi-Fi modem and all taxes included. Add to this the normal telephone call charges, your telephone bill is definitely going to shoot up. Be ready for a hefty first bill where they put in all the hidden costs. I paid approximately 4000/- in my first bill for the rented modem option. I am again mentioning to go for a purchased modem as it saves a lot of headache later.
There are other technical issues involved. At times the DSL link goes missing and the BB stops functioning. This happens more often after every rainfall in my case. You need to lodge a complaint at 198 and it takes normally one day to rectify the fault. In my case I can’t sit idle for a full day. I have an “arrangement” with my local lineman and the fault is rectified within an hour. Depending upon your dependence on BB you will have to invent solutions. :)) Also you need to have patience like a Buddha as you need to deal with BSNL officials in due course of time.
There are other plug to surf options also available. Here the speed is not as fast as the BB but much better than the dial up connections. Tata Indicom offers this service and the basic plan is of 250/ per month. This is basically a USB modem which can be connected to your computer and you can start surfing anywhere Tata network is available. Great for working professionals to check mails while traveling. Airtel is soon going to offer this service in Himachal. It is in the testing phase right now. The modem will cost around 3250/- and they have a monthly unlimited plan of 999/-. Speed I am told is much better than TATA as Airetl uses the Edge technology.
Thank you for reading all through. I have placed my past 6 months experience of using the broadband. Hopefully, it will be helpful to other new potential users.
Update: Also please see this post on the same topic. Must see before you commit to the internet services in Himachal