2007 is over, and 2008 is now on scene. It's also my first blog post for 2008, and I will use this post as MBB Theme of the Week #5: Most Promising 2008 Event. Here goes, and a long one at that!

What I hope will happen in 2008 is this: Our Mauritian Internet (read: outdated) gets FASTER! Every Mauritian Internet user's dream! Or that we do get FTTH.

Yes yes! I know. I'm sure (if you are Mauritian), you will say that whatever connection you have, "IT'S SLOWWWWW!!! ARGHH!". Right! Mine's like that too. However, before we start blaming ISPs and other people, we need to consider that the number of Internet users in Mauritius is low (less than 100k) and they have to work on tight resources. Ok, maybe not so tight, seeing the profits some companies are making.

But that's not the point today. I'm not complaining about services being offered, be it ADSL, MyT, MTML's 144Kbps Dial-Up, DCL's packages, Nomad or Emtel's wireless. What I'd say is that, they are all deprecated, save maybe for Emtel's newest offer.

Come'on folks, many of us still have 56K dial-up. This thing is ridiculously slow, making things like "Youtube" virtually impossible to use. Online gaming on dial-up is almost a myth. Online apps? Forget it! This thing called dial-up, this "pay-per-use/minute" service is only good for people that only browse for around 20 mins a day to check their mail. Who does that nowadays? Even the busiest of people, or the most basic computer-illiterate will try to access some video site at least once to check something, or listen to music.

Multimedia is everywhere on the Internets nowadays! Flash animations, Flash videos (youtube, metacafe, dailyvideo and the countless others), music and other streaming content are flooding websites across the globe. The famous Hi5 is overflowing with multimedia content. Try browsing any female's profile with dial-up and see the results. Useless. Downloading and interactive content are non-existent in the dial-up world.

(Unless you make use of it for specific purposes like VPN. Those COULD justify it, although much better solutions exist.)

I excluded MTML's 144Kbps dial-up above. It's worth considering if you are a light user, since it's pay-per-usage. However, it offers fairly decent speeds (16KBps down) considering it's price, and it being wireless. Do not think you'll be downloading massive files with this, unless you want your bills going through the roof! It's wireless btw (portable!). Pretty cool! If only it was unlimited usage...

Next target: ADSL. This service is considered to be "fast" by many Mauritians. We all desire that golden 128K ADSL when we are stuck with 56Kbps dial-up. When we have 128K, we want 512K, and then we want 1Mbps, but then we can't get it since it's priced at a whooping Rs.5990+VAT. Unless your daddy is Bill Gates or nicknamed "Deep-Pockets", I doubt you'll be taking it. With oldish ADSL, you will be stuck with speeds like 14KBps and 55KBps. Ok, 55KBps is a pretty big number, but it's slow. Trust me. You'll see why.

ADSL is fairly fast, I admit. Have you ever tried using ANY Internet connection in Mauritius during the day? Whatever ISP, whatever connection, it's awfully slow! I saw my 512K going like 3-10KBps during the day, instead of its top 55KBps. I can agree that during the day, businesses are booming and are given bandwidth priority. But come'on! That's less than 1/4 of what I should get! I still pay full-price btw!

MyT is another interesting service. It's a combined Internet-Video-Telephony package. It's cool actually, giving you 256K for the price of 128K. I dunno why people don't like it. Maybe because of the tons of "MyT is SLOWWW!" articles I see popping everywhere from time to time. I haven't tested it personally, so I cannot say. My friends who do have it say it's slow. Go ask them. :P

Next we have the wireless ones, that is Nomad and Emtel's packages. I've tested none of them, so I can't accurately describe how they are. I know loads of people using Nomad who keep complaining about slowness and loss of connection. I think it's normal, considering it's wireless. The connection can easy be affected by weather conditions, and Mauritius is not the flattest of countries. Mountains create shadow-zones. I've got nothing against Nomad. I never used it, though was very tempted for a time. But whenever I see Nomad mentioned, I tend to see other people using the word "slow".Go figure if it's true or not. I still give them a thumbs up for being MT's main competitor regarding Internet. It's not easy to compete against a big boy like MT, but seriously, the people at Nomad need to be applauded.

Emtel recently launched a new wireless Internet package. I haven't read any reviews of it yet, nor have heard anybody mentioning it. IMHO, it's more suited for business-people who are constantly on the move, rather than home users. The price of its "modem" should also be considered. Priced at Rs.6000+, I doubt it'd find many home users.

Long, huh? You still with me? Good! :P Now comes the good part.

I mentioned that Mauritian Internet is outdated. Yes it is. Dial-up and ADSL are things of the past. Nowadays, people talk in terms of VDSL, ADSL 2, cable, combined packages and FTTH. Oh the greatness! What does this mean? Megabit speeds, baby! In excess of 1Mbps usually! 2Mbps, 8Mbps, 16Mbps, 24Mbps! That's the speeds we are talking about! FTTH? 50+ Mbps! That's the beginning! Comcast wants to offer 150Mbps through channel-bonding! Universities abroad have GIGABIT speeds!

A rapid check here shows a very interesting thing: you can get 8Mbps at sub-10 pounds prices! This means 8Mbps at less than Rs.1000, while you pay Rs.5990+ for 1Mbps. You pay around 6 times more, for 8 times less speed. See any logic in this? I don't. Unless I consider that UK has many more Internet users than Mauritius! Feast your eyes on these Speeds/Price comparisons!

With 512K at max speed (55K or so in Mauritius), you can download a 5MB audio clip in around 2 minutes. If you had 1Mbps (priced at Rs.5990 - omphh!), you could download that same clip in under 45 seconds. If you had 8Mbps or more? It'd take less than 10 secs. More? It'd be instantaneous. That's the importance of speed. If you wanna time it yourself, here. Now we are talking about streaming HD (High Definition) content off Internet? Forget it if you have less-than-megabit speeds.

This is what I'd call a decent Internet connection, one that does not need to buffer my youtube videos every second or so, that does not take ages (~1hr at max speed, but I once waited almost 7hrs for 100Mbps to download - at 10KBps speeds) to download a 100Mb file and that doesn't lag my online gaming sessions. This is the type of connection required if you want to participate in the web 2.0 revolution, the social and multimedia Internet. Alright, you don't need 24Mbps to do most things, but a 2Mbps priced at less than Rs.1000 does help! Specially considering that 512Kbps (1/4 of 2Mbps, and 16x less than 8Mbps) is priced at Rs.1360+VAT.

Still need proof? Check the pictures below. Click for a larger version. They show the average price/megabit in other countries.

Mauritius is being promoted as a Cyber Island, and temping major IT players to come and invest in Mauritius and do business and employ our people. I seriously doubt that any major company will come if they see the crappy Internet we have here. No seriously! Would you come to a small island, almost lost in the Indian Ocean? Maybe. To invest? Maybe. Knowing it only offers max. 1Mbps or 2Mbps? Overpriced? You are kidding! They won't! The only folks that will come are call centres. They have already flocked in, and are doing a good job soaking in the unemployed.

Thousands of call centres do not make a cyber island. Programming companies do. Data centres do. Specialized services do. Development and research companies do. And I doubt any of those would come knowing the state of our Internet infrastructure. We need to realise that our Internet connection service is what links us to the real world out there. It's like a highway that leads to development. Unfortunately, the highway looks like the small lane that my dog dug near the mango tree! It's nothing! We need something big! Like this:

Oh we had hopes! Oh yes we did! When? When UCL said they'd be bringing FTTH in Mauritius. When the rumor said that MTML would be offering high-speed, uncapped Internet services at Rs.500. Whenever there is a decrease in prices. All these boosted our hopes. For a time. Price decreases are nice. They make Internet available to the people, but in no way help existing power users, who hunger to surf on the newer and bigger waves of the Internet. It's time to change. It's time ISPs and the government decides to act. I knowwwww! "We don't have enough Internet users." "The investment will not be justified." bla bla bla!

What's that? If there are 5 people living in a village, does this mean that CWA will not put pipelining there, justified by "there are not enough water users there"? Same reasoning! Ok, water is a life necessity. Internet is rapidly becoming one. We are more and more connected, and it's already very apparent.

I am adding this section following a comment from Carrotmadman6, reminding me of EASSy (Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System) cable. Will this be the ultimate solution to our oldish Internet services? Maybe, maybe not. I've not heard about Eassy for almost 3 years now. Governments have apparently approved of the project, but so far, nothing new has emerged. More information about EASSy can be found here. Note: the map doesn't show the cable connected to Mauritius, since this addition is quite recent and the map is not up-to-date. It's here to give a general idea. EASSy is in red.

For now, we only have 2 lonely Cyber Towers in Ebene. The Two Towers only cannot grant us the name. We need to act, then we can call ourselves a Cyber Island. For now? Let's be humble and call us: Prehistoric Internet Services Island.

To conclude, an event that I'd like to see occur in 2008 would be that the quality and speed of our Internet services increase. Time to update. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, "You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again."

Furthur reading:

Nomadcom - Europe vs Asia - Broadband Price Comparison

And this concludes the 1st post of 2008, and MTW#5. Comments appreciated. :D


  1. koonul said...

    Kot moi Nomad bon, sauf 2-3 fois kot li gagne so banne crise lol
    Mais so support extra dan bez.

    Emtel la mone deja tester so speed extra bon...Mo croire the best speed ever in Mauritius sa :P
    Mais so prix trop chaud :(

    Concernant My.T la, kan li ti fek launch ki li bon, mais vu ki beaucoup dimoune in subscribe zot a My.T so qualité servive in baisser.

    Et concernant speed dan banne Europeans countries la mo koné...Mo tonton ki fek sorti U.K gagne crise ar sa connection ADSL Maurice la.

    Great Post ;)  

  2. MBB said...

    "Let's be humble and call us: Prehistoric Internet Services Island." It could not have been said better than that!

    I'm shocked Mauritius prides itself on being a cyberisland. The whole "cyber" issue needs to be complemented by an appropriate satisfaction of inhabitants with the level, quality and price of internet services. And that, has yet to come in Mauritius.

    Great post as usual! ;)  

  3. carrotmadman6 said...

    Instead of prehistoric, i would say my internet connection is at Big-Bang levels... :(

    & to be able to get those medieval speeds like 1-2Mbps, we would need more bandwidth on SAFE & another fibre link (Eassy?).

    & yeah... we should call ourselves CyberTowerIsland!

    Great post! :P  

  4. Shah said...

    Ha! Nothing new :( Alas, even in 2K8, DSL sucks.
    I am not relying on Fibre to save my a$$ :(
    You have to be patient till you leave the country for something better.
    I wish you well.
    Try www.opendns.com - get an account (speed up your browsing and avoids the common timeouts. won't speed up downstream rate though)
    I've resumed blogging - http://www.fadilnet.ic.cz
    You can add me to your "links" section. May I add the URL of your blog?
    Have a good day :)

  5. Shah said...

    hey, check this out: http://www.lexpress.mu/display_article.php?news_id=100645

    What happened to thorough risk analysis and contingency planning?!!!

    WTF @ cyber towers! - big disappointment.  

  6. Anonymous said...

    Great Post!!!

    Let's just hope and wait for God to reply our prayer :)  

  7. InF said...

    @Slasher: Nice analysis, specially concerning Emtel. I agree that the speed, 1.2Mbps+ I think, is great. However, it's capped at a very low level, and then you pay-per-usage. This is not what quality broadband service is about...

    @MBB: I think the people in charge, here in Mauritius, have a very different meaning for the word "cyber" imho..

    @Carrot: Oops! I forgot about ESSAY. Thanks for reminding! :P
    Regarding bandwidth, I don't know. I believe we're stuck with what we have for now...

    @Shah: Thanks for reading, and I gladly agree to the link trade! Will check out your blog soon. And thanks for the tips.

    @Nussaibah: Thanks for reading! :)  

  8. Jessica Mars said...

    ^^ merci pou sa ti post la ena ene tas zaffaire ki mo pa ti conner. cot moi ena adsl 512, mo frere ki plis servi nou ena ene routeur pou mo aussi mo capav servi en meme temps:) pas bizin dir ki connexion la pa bon nette :(  

  9. vijux said...

    well.. i can only say 1 fing..

    internet connection speed in mauritius is getting slower n slower over time.. dats wat we call the cyberisland.. :)

    lets b realistic..stop hoping for greater speed in here :P lol kidding..

    All the ISP's of mauritius do provide "quality" service in their own way..we have to agree wid dat, nofing can b perfect..but the fact remains..we r left behind mny countries in the race of speed & quality..time to evolve.. or we soon gna b out of the digital world..( or rather r almost already out :P )

    long live dial-up! haha!  

  10. Grisgris said...

    Telecom Pub mensongere, Mo ena ene package 512 ADSL unlimited, mais fine block mo download, eski li permet sa, mo pas conner ki pou faire.

    If someone can help me.


  11. Grisgris said...

    Banne ki ena ADSL 512 Cheque ene coup Telecom pe faire mardaye pe bloc download rate mais pe prend full Cash are banne consomateur  

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