(Was tempted to title this ‘From Iffy Sify to Empty Anal, but that would be too weird)
The decision to switch was made at the beginning of this month, when after yet another breakdown in service, the Sify engineer came over and confirmed that he wasn’t attending to the complaints. He’d given up on the cable operator, which explained why regular calls to the Sify Customercare had yielded nothing. Further outages over the next couple of weeks made this decision ‘final’.
A few observations on MTNL:
- Alarmingly Quick Response: MTNL promises installation within a week. Mine got installed two days after I booked it. Still find it hard to believe.
- Reduced connectivity issues: Connectivity issues are likely to be few, since this is connected to your phone line, and is not external wiring through switches exposed to the elements. One of the things that made me switch was the fact that everyone I asked about MTNL’s customercare wasn’t able to give me feedback. The connection was so good that one person never had cause for complaint over 6 months. The rest were fairly new to is, so no complaints over three and four months respectively.
- No Login client: The Sify Client used to hang often. MTNL starts when you switch the modem on.
- Multi computer usage: The modem has a USB outlet that I can connect to a laptop, and more than one computers can connect to the net using the same connection. With Sify, the connection was bound to a particular computer. I lost half a day of connectivity when I bought a new computer because Sify had to reconfigure.
- Call 1504 instead of 1500: The 1500 registration line is almost always busy. I got through after over an hour of calling. Even if you get through, those attending to your call are impatient and know very little about the plans and schemes. On one occasion, I was asked to check the plans and call only for registration, after which the phone was put down. 1504 is much much better, and the people there take time to explain the plans to you.
- Installation: Your local linesman does the wiring, so be prepared for service without a smile and impatience. They’re interested in finishing the wiring to their own satisfaction, rather than yours.
- Configuration: You’re likely to know more about configuring your connection than the chap MTNL sends across with instructions written on a piece of paper
- The Plan: for the same price as a Sify connection, I get less usage at higher speed. So I’ve to watch my downloads from now on.
- Speed anomaly: Browsing speed seems to be slower than download speed.
- Customercare: From the looks of it, it might be a loooong wait if anything does go wrong. You’ll probably be calling a lot of people
- Switching plans is going to be a major pain: You need to submit a letter at ‘Sanchar Haat’ every time you want to switch plans, so choose your plan carefully. I asked for the 590 NU plan and still am not sure of whether the people at 1500 gave me a 590 NU Triband or 599 Triband. I still don’t know which plan I’ve been given, because the lady at 1500 couldn’t tell.
- MTNL’s Website: MTNL’s website is ugly and not customer friendly. So if you want to check your usage, or even want to know what facilities are available, you should be ready to scan lots of poorly designed pages that are low on usability.
Precautions: Take down as many telephone numbers as possible – of the SDO, Linesman, Broadband chap – just in case there is a problem.
I sent an email thanking one of the senior chaps at Sify Customercare for his help over the last three months – he’d been very helpful, though the technical team and cable operators had done nothing – and simultaneously informing him that I have switched to ‘another ISP’. Since then, two people from Sify have come over, and told me that a complaint had been registered – which wasn’t the case – and then asked for another chance. One would think that the number of calls I’ve made to their call center over the last three months should have been indicative of the impending churn. Most people wouldn’t even have waited for three months, if they had had to complain to three different people on at least 50 of the 90 days, without a reliable connection at the end of it all.