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PDB Letter: Whither Cable Modem Service?
By Thiravudh Khoman

Like most people (I'm sure), I found the announcement of Asia Infonet's pilot cable modem service intriguing (Post Database, July 21, 1999). After all, who wouldn't want to surf the net 5 times faster than they're doing now? And apparently, no hourly limits on monthly usage either. Wow!

But wait a minute, read the fine print and do the math: 100mb data transmission volume per month. This averages out to 3.3mb per day. How much is 3.3mb per day? Well, dialing into Asianet and accessing 5 web pages on their website, I managed to rack up 800kb in about 8 minutes. multiply this by 4 and you get 3.2mb data transmission in about 32 minutes.

Using this crude math, this new service allows you to access 20 web pages in about half an hour. (Okay, faster than that, since you'll be running at up to 256kb. Assuming that this is 4 times faster than a 56kbit modem, you'll get your 20 pages in 8 minutes.) After that, be prepared to shut down the cable modem OR be prepared to pay 15 Baht/MB for excess usage for that day. Clearly, 100mb/month is a pittance, something a single person shouldn't find hard to exceed, least of all an office full of internet users.

In light of the above, Khun Somjai's statement that "This service is best suited to businesses and users who download a lot of information" is rather puzzling. Or maybe not. (The speed is good for YOUR business; the excess usage is good for OURS!)

While we're on the subject of fairy tales, allow me to opine about another ISP promotion which was frontpaged by Post Database. A few months ago, it was announced that Samart Cybernet was trying to gain several thousand new subscribers by introducing some new, low cost packages. A friend of mine convinced me to buy one of these since the price was so low (Baht 300 for 15-20 hours I believe).

While the price was right, the "catch" was that you had to successfully dial-in to use it. Knowing that Samart was fairly difficult to dial into even before this, I kept to non-peak hours, but still managed no better than 1 connect out of every 10 tries (all the while changing access #'s, even trying "unlisted" ones). Perhaps I've been spoiled by my regular ISP where I get 9 connects out of 10 tries. Anyway, after 5 frustrating days, I donated my barely used Samart package to my friend, knowing that he was more patient than I was, and wished him luck.

Don't believe everything you read folks.

Copyright © 1998-2000, Thiravudh Khoman