Monday, September 03, 2007

Be As A NULL - Chuck De India

I have a problem with my BSNL Internet connection:
When I initialize the Huawei SmartAX DSL modem provided by BSNL, it does not sync. The little green LED that is supposed to turn orange when link is UP, continues to blink green. If I let it stay on for a few hours or days, it does sync up eventually. Trouble is, with power-cuts in Bangalore, it often gets restarted again and story continues. My guess is the cheap Huawei modem must have lost it. 18 months is more than I ever expected it to function! Wonder if anyone else faced the same behavior?

I will try to get BSNL to replace the piece since it is supposed to be on rent. I shudder at the thought of visiting their offices, though. The few times someone responded to my complaint on phone, they gurgled in Kannada and couldn't even state their purpose for calling in English. After a few minutes of us both attempting some broken English, the line goes dead. The problem remains unsolved after 2 months -- although, very sweetly, they close the docket number each time they call. Probably citing the reason: "Customer was unable to say what the problem is!"

As you can imagine, I opted for a BSNL connection for DSL at home more out of Airtel's reluctance to light up my part of town than any bias for BSNL. To be fair, BSNL service has been quite good so far. That is, as long as you do not need any service. The download speeds have been between 500 and 700 Kbps on a shared 2Mbps pipe (which is rather impressive) and the link, surprisingly, has almost always been up. All this for a measly Rs.550 a month!

Despite these positives, the reason people still run far away from BSNL is the trauma that follows a service request. Most such services are hardly luxury anymore and have a direct impact on our businesses and jobs. The only person whose job is rooted in concrete happens to be the technical chap responsible for getting us back online. He has no motivation (read: fear) to improve either his communication skills or empathy. Airtel, on the other hand, would hire zombies to man the call-center but eventually you'd spook someone with the skills to fix your line.

TRAI has now recommended that 30% spectrum be reserved for BSNL/MTNL even in upcoming wireless technology. That should spur them into fearing for their jobs and improving their skills/service levels. Yeah, right!

I am sure a patriotic Bhaiyya is making some poor Kannadiga suffer similarly in Kanpur. And so on, in every state, in every babudom. I am all for the glory of regional languages. But are basic services the right forum to demonstrate that? When the British left, they may as well have repainted all sign-boards to read: "Dogs and Out-of-State Indians Not Allowed".

1 comment:

WhatsInAName said...

JAM Babu
"Customer was unable to say what the problem is!" That was surely funny but I can understand how frustrating it must be !!!
I am having MTNL connection and their service is no better, even if they respond in Hindi :-|
Kya karein? Dont fret. We are all in the same titanic!