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Broadband just got cheaper and better
Shobhana Subramanian in Mumbai
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August 30, 2005

Have you got yourself a broadband connection? MTNL's [Get Quote] Triband has lowered some of its charges and now offers some attractive packages whether you are an Internet junkie or you simply need to check your mail.

In fact, if you wait for a couple of weeks -- the deal could get even sweeter. In the works is a combination package -- with a certain number of free telephone calls thrown in every month for a broadband usage of say 300-400 MB. But, that's still some time away.

In the meantime, the schemes on offer from MTNL, Tata Indicom and Sify today are also good value for money.

MTNL, for example, has made connections cheaper -- the initial charges for a phone-cum-broadband connection are down by Rs 1,000. If you are an existing MTNL customer though, the charges are Rs 1,300 for a broadband connection.

The good news is that speeds have now increased -- up to 2 Mbps so if you're running a small enterprise, that could be of help. Moreover, none of the service providers now charge for more than one PC.

In other words, you could easily install a local area network (LAN).

If you want to hook up a wi-fi connection too, there's no extra charge. All you need to do is buy a wi-fi enabled router.

Tata Indicom now offers a pre-paid facility across ten cities.

One of the cheapest packages comes for Rs 375 for 500 MB per month. That works out to 75 paise per MB.

And the best part is that if you don't use up the MBs, you can always renew the account and carry the MBs forward to the next month. Sify also offers a reasonably good scheme -- for one GB or 1000MB you pay Rs 950 for three months.

That works out to just 95 paise per MB. You have the flexibility to use as many MB as you like in a month.

At the end of three months, however, your MBs lapse.

However, Tata Indicom has upped it charges for its post-paid schemes, which now start at Rs 600.

The Rush-25, a package gives you 25 hours access for Rs 600. If you need to use more you have to shell out Rs 25 per hour. Alternately, if you are a big user you can opt for an unlimited scheme by coughing up Rs 800 for a month. The speed for this scheme though is just 64 kbps.

For those of you looking for higher speeds, there is an 128 kbps option which is for Rs 2,000 per month. But for heavy users one of the best deals going is probably Triband's.

For Rs 590 a month you can use up to 500 MB in the daytime and you can also browse free at night -- from 12 midnight to 8 a.m. That's just over a rupee per MB in the day.

And if you are willing to surf at night--that's more bang for your buck. Sify also offers an unlimited night package--from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. for Rs 545 per month.

However, no browsing is allowed during the daytime. Sify also has an option for 1 GB (1000 MB) per month for Rs 550 which works out to 55 paise per MB.

On the contrary, if you do not know how much you are going to use, stick to MTNL's 'pay as you use' -- which will cost you Rs 2 per MB. Remember, hourly packages are good for those of you who are downloading a lot of data or music, since you will need to do a lot of data transfer.

They are also best for people who use the Internet sparingly and mainly to download their mail.

Conversely those of you who are compulsive chatters, opt for a data transfer-based package since chatting requires very little data transfer and you will get you more for your money.

The 'unlimited' schemes are a trifle expensive but if you like to surf the new frequently and download music or other stuff -- this may be just right for you.

One convenience with Indicom Pre-paid is that you can access broadband, Net telephony, use a roaming dial-up without having to pay for it separately.

The amount will simply get deducted from your balance.

For instance , if you want to subscribe to Encyclopaedia Britannica online, you can get an exclusive price.

That's a boon. If you are a post-paid customer, it gets added to your bill. While MTNL also has pre-paid services, separate calling cards are needed for net telephony. In the case of Sify too, you would need to buy time separately.

The bonus from Sify and Tata comes in the form of broadband content.

Sify for instance allows you to download high-speed videos or listen to radio round the clock.

You could also view some special events such as the Nasa shuttle landing or tennis matches at Wimbledon.

With Tata Indicom, you cannot download videos -- but you can watch movies -- even in some regional languages.

The content is of course, currently free of cost to subscribers.

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