Experience with BSNL Dataone 8 Mbps Plan
I upgraded to a BSNL 8 Mbps plan (Rs. 2799 /month) a little over a month back. Previous to this upgrade I was on a 2 Mbps plan and got effective download speed ranging between 700 Kbps to 1.2 Mbps. So, I made this assumption that if I upgrade to an 8Mbps plan I would at-least get an effective download speed of 4 Mbps. With this kind of speed I could seamlessly stream movies using services like Amazon Instant video, Netflix, etc.
Getting the plan changed
Irritant #1: I had to go in person to the BSNL customer service center and submit a letter stating that I would like to change my plan. This is extremely frustrating to me that a large broadband provider would not have a simple online plan management mechanism. Anyways, I justified to myself that all this effort is worth it if one indeed got a data rate of 8Mbps.
Irritant #2: The plan comes into effect only from the 1st of the following month. So it was quite a long wait since I decided 15 days before the end of the month.
Irritant #3: The billing plan gets promptly updated on the 1st of the month but the ADSL link speed was not updated till almost the end of the 1st week. I should mention that the update happened after relentlessly calling the BSNL office.
What about the broadband speed?
At the outset, it would have been worth all this trouble if I indeed got 8Mbps data rates. The answer to that is “No”. I have run speed tests of various forms. I’ve used http://www.bandwithplace.com, cnet internet speed test, speedtest.net and of-course a simple download of a large file. I have pretty much got consistent results with all these methods. With the 8Mbps plan, I consistently get download speeds of 5 to 6 Mbps within India. However, when I access servers outside the country (let’s say the US), the download speeds range between 500 Kbps to 1 Mbps. Please remember most of the content one would typically access is not residing on servers located within India. Atleast for me, possibly 90% of my traffic are directed towards servers outside the country.
The picture above is a download test from the Mumbai server. Nice 6.62 Mbps download speed. But look at the picture below.
The above picture shows a 570 Kbps download speed from the server in San Francisco. San Francisco neighbors the silicon-valley and I get a mere 500 Kbps download speed with an 8 Mbps connection. Wake up BSNL, you need to improve the internet backbone! Airtel on the other hand provides only a modest 4 Mbps plan as their fastest connection. I’ve done some initial tests at my friend’s place and they seem to provide a 3 Mbps download rate, even for servers outside the country. But, I will only know for sure once I make the switch. I will post an update on my experience with Airtel once I have my Airtel broadband service active.
I’m based in Bangalore near the Bellandur-Outer Ring Road area. I’ve heard a similar story from a friend of mine who lives in South Bangalore. But then again everything written here is my personal view and I would love to hear your experience with BSNL broadband.