One of the main ways to write an article about “Digital Life” for Koh Chang would be the ability to be online – and that can be a chore, at the best of times on Koh Chang. So who is best to deal with?
I don’t know how many times I have been right in the middle of something really important and bang – the internet is down. Sometimes just for a moment, sometimes for days.
We phone and from no idea, to “cable break under water” (which we heard about three times in one month). I had to ask where the cable actually is. The providers actually don’t know that beside designing web sites and maintaining the kohchangsun.com and other web sites our editor actually was actually a senior Tech for a major ISP in Canada. He kind of knows this stuff.
This is a picture of a cable that runs underwater for internet services. I guess they had installed around the ferry propellers at one time as it takes a mig-welder to get these things apart… But that has been only one of many reasons why the Internet is down.
Then it was a faulty and rusty box outside our home. It needed replacing and by golly it did. So they replaced it and charged us for it. That irked us more than anything. We pay for access and when their equipment is faulty – we can pay to replace their crappy connections, which if they spent a few more Baht on would weather proof. Nope – just keep paying. We were happy to see what they replaced was the same crap as they used in the first place. So we are saving up for next years annual replacement of the equipment. Sort of like Christmas…
The best one was a lightning strike which one provider put down as mainly an “act of God” and it took a week to fix. Sure enough a lightning strike took out a box and lots of connections but here is the thing. Lightning occurs all over the world and electrical engineers solved the old “Lightning Strike Problem” about a hundred years ago. It’s called grounding. Simple and easy to do – but it costs a bit of cash.
So what is the difference between CAT and TOT? At one time CAT was based on the mainland only so you could only yell over the phone, so TOT was better. Now both have offices here, and you can beg, plead and yell in person so they both are equal in that area now.
Both offer high-speed packages. Check your speeds though and you will find that you probably are not going to need the top package. Nothing runs that fast on the island. Go with the middle line package and save a few Baht. Check with your neighbors and see who they like, usually that is best.
We think it comes down to who you like yelling at. We find for us the people at TAT are pleasant enough and understand so little English that yelling a them, although cathartic, does not cause any real public embarrassment for either party. At the end of the day they actually put up with us – so they are kind….
Two tips that can help you out if you actually need the Internet for business communication is to get a USB phone-Internet card. When the Internet is down just simply pop it in and use the cell-phone connection to at least get emails. Don’t even think about Torrents… movies will take about six months to download if you do.
Another great idea is to convince your neighbors to get the opposite provider of yours and when yours is down try to connect wirelessly to theirs, and visa-versa. Try to get along with your neighbors, as they can always lock you out. Also make sure they get a connection and are not just leeching off your connection for free Internet access.
One thing that KCTV has not thought of is to offer cable modems, just a thought…
Oh, and be sure to read up on why you need a UPS: unless you want to buy a new computer every six months.
On the bright side when the net goes down, we actually have to leave the offices and do something like talk to other people, visit a beach or interact with our fellow humans. We do that a lot here… But on the other hand we are a pretty isolated island – and we have DSL!
Have fun with finding your provider, please book early as it can take up to a month to get connection. Usually…