I’ve been having Internet troubles over the last fortnight and haven’t been able to enjoy the luxury of fast and reliable Internet.  Haven’t been able to go on the IRC or push my commits as easily as I could.

There are a lot of ISPs in India, the most popular among these being BSNL, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, which is a government owned telecommunications company that laid out India’s  phone lines post-independence. Most of India’s middle class prefers to use BSNL, and the following quote pretty much defines their service. [1]:

BSNL then known as the Department of Telecommunications had been a near monopoly during the socialist period of the Indian economy. During this period, BSNL was the only telecom service provider in the country. MTNL was present only in Mumbai and New Delhi. During this period BSNL operated as a typical state-run organization, inefficient, slow, bureaucratic, and heavily unionised. As a result subscribers had to wait for as long as five years to get a telephone connection. The corporation tasted competition for the first time after the liberalisation of Indian economy in 1991. Faced with stiff competition from the private telecom service providers, BSNL has subsequently tried to increase efficiencies itself.

I’m probably being a little uncharitable in my judgment because BSNL services have improved quite a bit since the Indian economy was liberalised in 1991, but the company’s customer satisfaction policy is, erm.. quite unsatisfactory.

BSNL is so popular because they provide nominally priced Internet services. I pay INR 5600,(A little short of $100, according to the current Dollar Rupee conversion) for a year’s worth of unlimited Internet subject to an FUP limit of 6 GB, which I do not mind very much. My troubles with BSNL begin typically because of the Indian monsoon which has arrived late this year, but with full gusto. The monsoon leaves phone lines with sore throats and runny noses and this affects Internet services. Indians are typically  a patient lot when it comes to bearing bad governance and bad services; we understand the inefficiencies of the government and learn by experience that jumping into a fight at the Government Office usually results in cascading delays and if I may say so, more than the average degree of unpleasantness(I learned this while procuring my driver’s license).[2]

This time, though, BSNL has outdone itself in its shabby handling of customer issues. The ADSL signal on my modem, which is usually stable, flickers every two minutes during which I lose all connectivity. So, I get about 50 seconds of Internet for every 2 minutes and my modem gets more than its deserved share of angry glares and pointed stares. To solve the issue, we started off by registering a complaint with the BSNL call centre; that did not result in anything concrete, so we began calling their office repeatedly. After this drama went on for over two weeks, I decided to pay a visit to the customer service centre. The lady at the counter was *very* amused that we waited two weeks, and told me that I should have come to their office earlier. She directed me to one Mr.Subanna, responsible for handling complaints from our area, who called the same lineman we have been calling incessantly and asked him to fix the problem immediately. There was no trace of the lineman yesterday either, so I’m preparing to march into the office again today, and everyday from now on, till the problem is fixed.

These have been a profound two weeks when my adoration for git has increased exponentially. The biggest advantage of a DVCS, in my opinion, is the ability to keep pushing commits to your local repository without having to be connected to your central repository. I work away at Mallard and push my commits to my local repository. Then begins the wait and the subsequent race against the ADSL to push my commits when the Internet seems mildly stable. I lose more times than I win, but I haven’t given up yet. All of this has added quite a bit of drama and emotional baggage to my otherwise monotonous Internet time.

The best part about the whole ordeal is the beautiful roads I get to ride my scooter on, on the way to the BSNL office from IISc. The roads near BEL and The HMT Watch Factory are a treat with huge, shady gulmohar trees, large parks and the sight of charming benches that line every road. I fill my lungs with the pure air and think fondly of how much I miss the Bangalore of the past.

Life goes on, after all.



UPDATE: All okay with the Internet plus I also have WiFi at home now!

TODO: Post pictures.