postheadericon TECH TALK: The Big ISP Smackdown

Being a home Internet user in Nepal for almost a decade, it feels like I have “seen it all” as far as Internet connectivity craziness goes, so I thought that I would compare the three providers that I do know, while leaving out the few that I don’t.

Currently, I am a customer of Broadlink, WLINK, and NTC – so I feel I have the right to praise or condemn at will, as I am currently fielding bills from all three. I’ve organized this review by how well these local giants perform in just these areas: installation, delivery and service.

First, on installs: NTC requires a phone line, as their most popular service in the home market is ADSL, which streams the Internet into your house over the same line as your fixed phone line...if you have one! Installation is relatively simple, but you would want an ADSL-capable router if you have more then one PC in the home (and I am assuming that we all do – right?). Then, all that’s required is a simple router configuration and a splitter for the phone line, and whamo, you are in the Internet ring. No technician required – just read the web page for setup.

WLINK is a bit trickier, as the two most popular WLINK services slam the Internet into the home using either Wi-Fi or cable equipment. If you are in a line of sight of a WLINK Wi-Fi tower, then this installation requires an antenna placed on your water tank, and if you are not, you are connected to the nearest cable box located somewhere in your neighbourhood.

Broadlink is simplicity at it’s best, as their towers are almost everywhere, and can be picked up by the Wi-Fi receiver in your computer, smartphone or tablet. But again, most of us need a router to distribute Internet throughout the house, so an antenna on the water tank is needed for that. However, since Broadlink sets up a “roaming” account for you, you can get to your email, webpages, Facebook, etc. no matter where in Nepal that you are, using whatever device that you own, as long as it’s Wi-Fi enabled and that device is picking up a signal from dada Broadlink. In one word: awesome.

Smack! Broadlink wins on installation.

On delivery, the winner would depend on your budget and your desire for speed and simplicity. For example, NTC offers the cheapest unlimited 384Kbps service at just Rs. 1,500+VAT. Compare that with almost the same speed at WLINK (320Kbps) for Rs. 1,700+VAT. But even as I am writing this article, it seems WLINK is changing speeds, rates, and package descriptions - part of the problem with this company – you never know what you are paying for, or if it’s the best deal available.

Broadlink circumvents all of this confusion on speed and pricing by giving you an online dashboard to pick and choose what you want, and then you just need scratch cards to top off your account. You can change speeds/pricing on the fly (no calls to support needed), and the rates are comparable to the other two companies. At home for example, I am always using 512Kbps and paying Rs. 2700 per month, inclusive of VAT, and online videos and games all play just fine.

Smack! Broadlink wins BIG on delivery.

As for service, well, we all know how well NTC has historically treated customers, and I have nothing new to report there (sic).

WLINK has an inconsistent service organization that sometimes provides super service, and sometimes downright dishonest service... in my experience, you never know what you are going to get. And their products need a large staff, as both the cable and Wi-Fi connections often go south, unlike the NTC and Broadlink connections, which are surprisingly almost always on.

Broadlink service is a beauty to behold, as the most common tasks are done by you, the customer, and through that online dashboard that I mentioned. If the techs have to install an antenna on your water tank, they come well versed in even Apple technology, and also armed with your first scratch card to top off your new account.

Triple Smack! Broadlink wins on service too.

So to sum up then, in my experience with all three providers, I would pick Broadlink over all others in a heartbeat, as Broadlink smacks down all others on installs, delivery, and on service calls if you ever need one. And with that Broadlink roaming technology that I mentioned, I submit this smackdown ringside from an iPhone while sipping a drink from my favourite Jhamel sports bar...Cheers!

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Jiggy Gaton
lives in Kathmandu and is an aging technologist - has been since the days of Woodstock - so in the words of Roland The Gunslinger "he is from a world now gone by." However, Jigs is extremely up-to-date on all things tech and is also available for hire.
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