Friday, November 07, 2014

ACT is acting well

After waiting for 12 years and living with landline telephone for 22 years of landline, we got rid of the last vestiges landline couple of months back.  The only reason, we held on to the landline was for Internet and with ACT becoming available in my area, I took the last step to freedom from landline.

Now that we have been ACT broadband for couple of months, how is it?  Not bad.
We subscribed to Rs. 1299 monthly plan that promises 40 mb upload / download up to 75 gb.  We have been getting consistently good speed and stable connectivity.  One key advantage over Airtel broadband is the higher upload speed.  With Airtel, we were getting only 512 / 256 kb upload regardless the subscription level.  But with ACT, we are getting close 40mb upload which comes handy when uploading tonnes of high resolution photos or videos.  The speed captured above is to ACT servers and it was not surprising to see the higher speeds.  But then, most of the Internet content is outside India / Chennai, so what happened when I tested with the servers in US west coast?

As expected, the speed dropped considerably for both download and upload.  But still lot better than what I was getting with Airtel.  International pipe out of India is a choking point and like China, India needs a strategy on getting more traffic to remain inside from a speed and security perspective.  But then, that is topic for another post..

Hence my earlier statement..  "overall ACT broadband service is not bad".But ACT is bad on two other fronts..

Billing and Payment system is pathetic - First, I do not get the promised email notifications when my bill is ready.  I prefer email notifications with payment links for easy online payment.  Beyond the emails, when ACT's payment portal is simply not cutting it.  It is very rudimentary and it is a struggle to complete the online payment.  I had to struggle for few days before I could pay and each time the system acted differently and mysteriously.  Like I do for IRCTC ticket reservations, I had to resort to prayers for my ACT payments to go through.

Last Mile Cabling is haphazard- I know Chennai City has expressly banned all overhead cabling by private cable and Internet carriers.  But the ACT folks are running cables all over as their will. (like the cable TV folks used to few years back).  In my neighborhood, ACT cables are run haphazardly, across flats, houses, streets.  I don't think it is legal and not sure how they are getting away with it.

If you ignore these two irks and simply look at the connectivity, ACT broadband is not bad and infact the best for the price.