About internet service, mobile companies and IT trends in Bangladesh

12 08 2007

Note: This post is a response to the post মোবাইল দিয়ে ইন্টারনেট কতটুকু নির্ভরযোগ্য…. by Omi Azad.

Dear Omi Azad, Thank you very much for raising this topic. I always wanted to have comparative knowledge about the internet services in Bangladesh. And having a more clear view now after reading the responses. So thanks to everyone else too. Here is my share of the picture and the thoughts.

I have been using GP internet service for a year and half now. I am using it from Chittagong University area which is 14km away from the Chittagong city. So it is fairly remote area. I used to get flat 20kBps of maximum bandwidth (please mind the big B, it is 160kbps with small b) for first 10-12 months, then suddenly the line started to yield 8kBps to 20kbps of maximum bandwidth at different times. So not getting 20kBps every day anymore.

It is clear that bandwidth is dependent on the volume of users in an area. I used GP internet in the bus journey from Chittagong to Dhaka. The connection stayed persistent and fairly fast. Used it form Rampura for a few days, got 12kBps. In Muhammadpur, less than 2kBps, and in Panthopath I got 18kBps or something. So I think it is a pain in some or most places in Dhaka at least. My friend in Muhammadpur decided to loose his line.

[Note: You will get no more than 4-5 kBps if you use GPRS-only sets. I am talking about EDGE-supported mobile phones here. GP does not say anything clearly about this. I went to GP HQ to ask for advice before taking their internet service. All they told me was, the costlier the phone you use, the more the bandwidth you get. And I asked these to people from GP IT division, not customer care. Smart brains they have in GP!!!]

I was thinking of trying Aktel or Citycell’s internet service but now I know that I should not. If Citycell is consistent then they are good choice for someone who is not going to do bulk downloading. I just checked my monthly statistics in DU Meter, I download more or less 7GB per month. So 3GB/month is not for me.

I would neither blame nor kiss GP or the mobile companies for their service. I could not have used internet from such a remote area if there was no GP or other mobile company offering service over mobile network. And also do not forget how unreliable the so called “Broadband” internet connections were. I used to telecommute to USA form Nikunzo in Dhaka, where I had to use a reselled ZIP line which used to yield 4/5kBps with lot of cut downs. If there was a storm, the line would go down for the night. If there was power cut in the area, the line is unavailable, even if you have IPS. So GP internet saved my life at that time. I later moved to CU campus in Chittagong, my home and didn’t have to move till now. It is ironic though that GP did not announce their service outside the metropolitan cities for long. But the best service is available outside.

I think we have bad times ahead, all signs are there. They will go bad and will not do anything. They great service was a surplus that we enjoyed. GP is a imperial minded company. They fed us 7tk/min for long, now lowering cost as slowly as possible, just to keep their income optimal, nothing else. They turned all (almost all) the engineering graduates into customer care executives. Don’t want to talk about that a lot, but I see a generation of stereotypes coming out of “universities” with engineering and CS degrees to become zombies in the mobile industry. These mobile companies indirectly wrecked the vision of creating N thousand programmers per year from our education system. Rest was wrecked by the low (very very very low) paying software companies.

And I see mobile companies always choosing the topics for their ads which are most negative to the society. Off course you can chat with girls if you have an internet connection, but you can do a lot more. Why can’t they tell the nation about MIT Open Courseware or Wikipedia. They are busy devising ways to teach the teenagers to talk on the phone all night. It is true that they changed our lives, but in the least positive way.

And since I started bashing, I have to bash the newspapers too. They are not doing anything for the IT generation. Prothom Alo features the mobile technologies every second week on their weekly IT page, and that’s all (I always say that the lamest feature page of Prothom alo is the IT page. They will review a game, and you will find it hard to extract the name of the game in that one small paragraph of review. Utter carelessness!). We have 10+ (how many?) universities in our country who teaches how to make Microprocessors, OOP with Java, Algorithms… where did those collective knowledge go? Why there is no column by the ace programmers in any newspaper? Why calling-bell circuit diagrams are as important to the newspapers as they were 10 years ago? No newspaper/media did anything to boost the real stream of Computer knowledge/education in Bangladesh. The IT brains always had to swim against the tide, on their own. Can’t people like Omi Azad do anything about that? Anyone from Prothom Alo or Daily star?

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Flickr, Peninsula Hotel, Chittagong, Sumon, Auvi, Memories, Fun

25 05 2007

Front-Elevation on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

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I am in bdblogs.com

21 05 2007

I am glad to say that my blog is added to bdblogs.com. bdblogs.com is an attempt to unite all Bangladeshi or Bangladesh related blogs in one place. I thank the people behind bdblogs.com and wave my hands to the bloggers. I hope my blog will add new flavors to the community. Also hoping to make some new friends.

Cricket + rain = :(

21 05 2007

Just in from cricinfo.com:

9.40am Sidharth says it’s like sunny Alabama at the moment at Chittagong. I’ve never been to Alabama and I’m not sure he has either. But as long as the rain stays away and we’re able to get play for best part of the last two days, there just might be a jot of interest left in this game.

I’d expect India to declare overnight and put Bangladesh in first thing in the morning. Sherlock Sidharth, however, says that the Indians haven’t put on their kits, indicating perhaps that there’s no declaration yet. No official word yet though.

Lets see what happens to this test. Don’t forget, Chittagong is my city.