Variety

Down to the basics, literally!

R. DINAKARAN | Updated on January 03, 2013 Published on January 03, 2013

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We now get the latest phones - some of which are launched simultaneously across the world. But sadly, this is not the case with Internet speeds. We are still far behind developed countries. Even a few years ago, it was difficult to imagine that we might ever get broadband speeds in the league of 2 Mbps.

A few years ago, when I heard that my service provider had launched a 2 Mbps connection, I immediately rang them up. “Please give us your number. We will let you know whether it is feasible,” was the answer. My friend, who was with the same service provider, said the company had refused to give him a connection as he did not “qualify” for it. I didn’t know what it meant, but couldn’t find out any more because he had not bothered following up the case.

I got a call two days later. The connection was immediately activated. At that time, a broadband connection could even mean a speed of 128 kbps, till the Government called the bluff and made 256 Kbps as the minimum speed to qualify as broadband. This itself was ridiculous, but we were used to browsing on dial-up connections, and thought 256 Kbps was simply amazing to use.

A colleague in my office was curious. He had a 256 kbps connection. “How fast is 2 Mbps? I heard movies can be downloaded in a few seconds if you have a 2 Mbps connection,” he asked me. I informed him that was not the case. It’s just four times faster than a 512 kbps connection, I told him.

Then came 3G. In my old mobile phone, I used to get up to 3 Mbps. Now I get even 7 Mbps – a lot faster than my broadband connection at home, that gave only 2 Mbps.

I said ‘gave’ because I got a call from my service provider asking whether I would like to have 8 Mbps speed. I just asked for the tariff and okayed it. So, 8 Mbps it is now at home, and up to 7 Mbps in my mobile.

There are people who don’t get the advertised speeds, and keep grumbling, but I think I am lucky. The day (or year) is not far off when we won’t have to look at the speeds people get abroad.

dinakaran.rengachary@thehindu.co.in

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Published on January 03, 2013
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