Sunday, September 16, 2007

BSNL Broadband - Heaven and Hell!

I recently got BSNL Dataone Broadband installed in my home after a 2 months wait. Yep 2 months! For those of you that may be interested, this is what I went through to get BSNL Broadband installed in Dehradun, Uttaranchal:

July Day 1: I went to the front counter at BSNL and waited in line for 15 minutes to receive a BSNL Dataone Broadband form.

Day 2: Completed the form and had all the necessary documentation attached including id (driver's license), personal photo, and telephone bill. When I went to the front desk to submit the form, I was told that I was at the wrong counter. Apparently, there is another counter inside the building that handles form submissions. After waiting for another 5 minutes, I was told that that I should see the Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) to make sure that my application was in correct order. It turned out that the SDO had gone on lunch and did not bother to come back.

Day 4: Visited the SDO with all my required documentation. I was shocked at how bad he was treating people. Basically, he was being rude to customers and trying his best to find faults with people's applications so that he wouldn't have to do any work! Well, after a 10 minute wait, he finally looked at my application. He glanced at it for 10 seconds and threw it away! He roared that my BSNL Broadband application form was outdated. I told him that the front desk gave it to me 3 days ago. But, he simply laughed and said that the front desk support staff don't have a clue about anything. I was handed a new application form to fill out and asked to come back tomorrow.

Day 6: The SDO was nowhere to be found. Apparently, he was gone on lunch for the past 2 hours. There was a huge line in front of his door and people were becoming very annoyed indeed. But, nothing could be done.

Day 7: Submitted the application to SDO and was approved. He asked me to go back down to the front desk and submit the application. All went well.

Day 15: No news about the Broadband installation. So, I went to the BSNL SDO office and asked him about the status of my application. He smirked that they had run out of modems! Apparently, they were trying to fix the situation and it would be resolved within the next 1 week.

Day 22: Still no news... Called the SDO numerous times on his phone but no one picked up the phone. So finally, I had to travel again to his office. He basically dismissed me as though he didn't care. Finally, he said that new modems had arrived and my connection would be installed in the next 1 week. Furthermore, he gave me the phone number of local SDO to talk to in future.

Day 29: Called my local SDO. He was polite but said that there was a huge line for internet connections and that the technicians who install the connections weren't doing their job properly. He apologized and said that it would be installed in the next 10 days.

August Day 10: Called the local SDO again. He gave me the number of the local technician and asked me to chase him up personally and get the connection installed!!!!

Day 12: After finally managing to track down the technician, he cliamed that in fact there was another person (Pandey) who installs internet connections. He gave me his phone number and asked me to contact him.

Day 13: Pandey said that he was busy at the moment and he would install the connection at my home in the next 1 week.

Day 20: Still no news about my Broadband connection. Called Pandey again and he finally agreed to come and install the connection. Buy guess what? No modem!!!! Yep, he said that I would have to go the local SDO and bring the modem.

Day 21: Went to the local SDO's office. He made it seem as though he was doing me a favor by giving me a modem. Took me to one side of the room, and demanded that I pay him Rs.500 bribe. He finally settled for Rs.300!!!

Day 22: After configuring the modem on my computer, there was a problem. So, I called the local SDO. He said that my connection had not been activated yet!! It would take another 2-3 days.

Day 26: Heaven!! Finally, my connection was activated and I could access the Internet after 2 long grueling months!

I am on a 256K unlimited download plan. The average speed is about 30kbps which is excellent for a 256K connection. However, every day there is at least 1 outage which means that broadband is unaccessible for about 1 hour! But hey, I can live with that for the moment given what I went through in the last 2 months!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Citibank Credit Card

I have a Bank of Baroda (BoB) Credit Card and I am quite happy with it. But, one thing I don't like about the BoB card is the lack of benefits and bonuses compared to the Citibank Credit Card.

The Citibank Credit card is one of the leading cards out there. What makes it so great is that Citibank has a number of associations with leading companies such as IndianOil, Hutch, and Jet Airways to offer various incentives on their credit cards.

I particularly like the IndianOil Citibank Credit Card. With most other credit cards, if you use them at petrol pumps then you have to pay an extra surcharge fee on each purchase. But if you use the IndianOil Citibank Credit Card, there is no surcharge and in fact, you earn Turbo Points for purchasing Petrol worth more than Rs.200 at Indian Oil Petrol Pumps! These Turbo Points can be redeemed later on for free petrol.

If free petrol doesn't excite you, then how about the Citibank MTV Credit card where you get discounts on popular hangouts such as discotheques, pool parlors, bowling alleys and entertainment arcades. You also earn Reward Points which can be redeemed for clothing and accessories!

There is also the Hutch Citibank Credit Card, and Jet Airways Citibank Credit Card. It seems like Citibank has taken the extra effort to provide incentives and bonuses to cater for the different needs of people. They have bothered to develop associations with leading companies so that the consumer can choose from a variety of credit cards according to his/her interests and also save money in the meantime.

Who knows maybe, I'll also apply for a Citibank Credit Card as well. I am always keen for free petrol!