For starters, to go surfing you need a decent board, or in this case broad…er broadband that is, and it might sound a little obvious but here in Chiang Mai you get broadband and band aids. The suburban internet services do leave a lot to be desired and their reliability is woeful. City dwellers are a little luckier but those of you out in the moo baan no doubt have a frustrating time, so here’s a few insights. Firstly, internet roll-out here is still in its infancy, and you’re part of only 2 per cent of Thailand homes to have high speed internet, so you’re effectively footing the bill for the tech investment. ISPs are notorious for over-selling and under delivering; speeds might start out fast in your neighbourhood, but gradually slow down as it becomes oversubscribed. This is never more obvious than after 3 p.m. when the ragnarok-playing teenagers get home. And it’s not likely to get much better since the
ISPs are unwilling to lay anymore cable, preferring to wait for the 3G and wi-max to go ahead. And that, I’m afraid, is at least 18 months away (we’ll explain why in next month’s column). If you don’t like it, move to Laos or Cambodia who are well ahead. Otherwise, I’m afraid there’s probably only one ISP in your neighbourhood and you can take it or leave it. My advice, don’t go for the cheapest package, since it rarely reaches the speeds promised, and keep a dialup card for backup. The most useful site I can recommend this month is www.speedtest.net. It’s the best of the speedometers, offering tests from data centres across the globe and records your tests and IP addresses, so you can print it all out as proof when you ask your service provider for your money back!
Andrew Bond is the Managing Director of www.virtualtravelguides.com