espeed, faster connectivity, affordable pricing???

For those who were searching for an early posting this morning, my apologies. Or rather I shouldn't even be apologisig for someone else's problems which is espeed2 provided by our newly corporatised Syarikat Telekom Brunei Berhad or TELBRU as it wants to be popularly known. I lost the connection sometime at about 4.30 this morning when I came back after sahur trying to connect to blogger to upload a completely different topic. So I thought I will write a new posting altogether and I have to upload this posting via the more inefficient dial-up modem which I always keep as a backup.

The last time I complained, a technician came over and he told me that there is nothing wrong with espeed2 but rather there is something wrong with both my wireless server and modem and that I should just switch on and off the modem and even though he didn't say anything, it sounded as if he hinted there is something wrong with the complainer. I thought I looked like the fool when the technician told me that. But after doing that a few times, then I realised the problem is nothing to do on my side but it's on the TELBRU side. The espeed connection would mysteriously go off and then come back on again. So if I complain in between and the technician turns up when the connection is working, I will look the fool again. So, that's why today I am not going to post about anything else but just to blow off steam on what is essentially a very important connection between us here in Brunei Darussalam. Hmmmm, faster connectivity (if it works), affordable pricing (wanna do just a little regional comparison?) ....

I used to be seconded as a Corporate Planning Manager for JTB many many years ago. At that point in time, JTB was planning its first move away from the government and I was part of the original team. In the late 1980s, practically the whole telecommunications world was moving away from the public sector and moving into the private sector. BT (British Telecoms, not Brunei Times) was among the first to chart the way. Some of my friends in UK actually made money by buying the first shares of BT by some 30% to 40% of original purchase prices. It was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who wanted to put the shares of a public company into the hands of the public. TM (Telekom Malaysia), SingTel (Singapore Telecoms) and everyone else were also on the move then. But unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, JTB wasn't corporatised almost 15 years ago for various reasons, though it did lose its mobile telephone service arm which became DST sometime mid 1990s, its main rival today.

A few more attempts (I can't go into details without contravening the OSA), were made along the years since then before the final one which finally turned JTB into TELBRU earlier this year. There are still teething problems and moving what is essentially a rather inefficient animal into an efficient and corporate one is not easy as the people are still the same. Though I have seen some changes in attitudes but it will take a while before everyone linked their performances to the profitability of their company and hence to their individual paychecks. I am willing to give them that leeway period but there are many individuals who can't especially those who are dependent on the net for their businesses and having an internet connection that mysteriously go on and off is not good for business. TELBRU as far as I know does not even have a backup plan such as providing compensation for loss of businesses.

There are still a number of support infrastructure which still need to be in place. We need the equivalent of an office or an ombudsman who consumers can turn to that can regulate the various telecommunication companies (and impose fines for not providing promised services) and most importantly we need the judicial framework which can allow small claims to be heard and adjudicated. I know plans are afoot but the relevant agencies seriously need to bring quickly some of these plans into the limelight very much sooner than they expected.

Comments

kediaku said…
I was in telbru last weekend, trying to apply for espeed. I still see them as JTB, as the faces are still similar, and the length of time it takes to process application, and also, by 11ish, the counter that are open start to close, leaving only one in the end.
Anonymous said…
Hmm.... I thought I had mistakenly turned into the opinion page of Borneo Bulletin (sorry, I don't read BT, so I don't know what is its equivalent!) :)
Anyway, is TelBru the new JTB? Yes, same faces, similar services and still the same slow and cr*p service. Well, a bit better now, though not as good as you'd expect from a customer-oriented company. What more can be done? Lots! Too much and already given too much space either in the papers or the net.
However, a friend had recently acquired e-speed 2 and he was well impressed with the current level of service that was provided by the technician who came over to his house. There was more corporate tone in his voice and you could sense some sense of responsibility in roviding better service than what they were used to. Kudos!
Agree with Mr BR on the need for the goverment to form some sort of watchdogs on the corporatised companies, DST included. It should try to judge if the service is value for money and what sort of penalty these companies need to pay up in case of not-so-great service provided.
And as of the price, well, the companies have the right to charge whatever price they want to. There is no point to compare it with companies outside Brunei as those companies do not provide those services to Brunei and competitions are much bigger there than here.
cuboiart said…
My espeed2 still alum working since registered end july...
Anonymous said…
I suppose I must be spoiled by the relatively speedy broadband here so I'm looking forward to having enough progress hopelly made in the way of fast internet (T1? T3? One can hope!) in the future!=D

I was just thinking that perhaps you could check with TelBru about having a static ip? Maybe the reason for your unstable connection is because you have a dynamic ip?
LSM said…
I blogged about this a while back. The most important advice I can give to those who have a complaint regarding their eSpeed2 connection is to specifically request for a report number. I've had so many problems with my connection that the technicians know me pretty well already. On all but one ocassion my problems were resolved relatively quickly. That one time where I didn't hear from them for nearly a week I called back and quoted my report number to prove that I'm still waiting for assisstance. Worked like a charm.

As for router issues, I know that my Linksys WRT54G needs to be rebooted every couple of weeks. I think everyone should be familiar with basic connection troubleshooting so that when the technicians assume the problem is at your end you can shoot their accusations down one at a time until they're forced to go back to their office and check things on their end.
kediaku said…
Without a doubt there are good employers in JTB/ Telbru, but there is a lot of negative press/ negative experiences around.

I wish Telbru improves rapidly, and i think in order to do it, maybe we need another competitor. Look how competition has affected the mobile phone industry.
Anonymous said…
Cuboiart, care to leave your email? I might be able to help you. :)
Anonymous said…
T1 and T3 are digital transmission used only in USA, Canada and Japan. European standard is E-carrier system (E1 & E3). Brunei uses this. Another advantage of using E-carrier system is it can carry 32 voice channels as opposed to T-carrier system which can only carry 24 voice channels. You can get more info from whatis.com.
Anonymous said…
i used to have the same trouble with my espeed2, the connection would mysteriously disappear for days on end and when i did have an internet connection, it was at half the speed i was paying for.

after many many many complaints, it turns out that the espeed modem they had provided was the problem. if you're still using the black bulky espeed modem, then you should take it back and ask for a new one. they did this free of charge for me. the newer modem is smaller and white & green in colour. my espeed has been fine ever since :)
Anonymous said…
Typically when one is criticised, one would try to put the blame on others. The question is are we satisfied with the current pace of development that AiTi or JTB or whatever they call themselves right now, can offer to the paying public. Are we happy to play catch up all the time? The public is not interested in the corrections that honourable vixenova povided regarding the corporatisation of JTB nor is the public interested with the Interconnection Handbook, which I might add, is the first time I've heard of. So much for communication....

If the regulatory framework is already set up and there is awareness about the negative impact that bad internet connections can give to local businesses, then why are there no apparent efforts by AiTi to 'remind' the PMO to accelerate or prioritise the whole process???@@****?? 'Not enough technicians' is not good enough for an excuse... train them for goodness sake. This should have been done at the very start when plans were made to corporatise JTB. All this reactive planning is really typical of most, not all, civil service organisation. I have had enough.

And please, internet penetration is one thing, but reliable service is another.

Thank you.

Garbo Gabby
Anonymous said…
I love this. Hehe. :)
Anonymous said…
So the European system is better. It's good to know that's what we have then=D
duolulu said…
Ok la... hehe. I don't have much problem with espeed2. I just want the "residential plan" uses static IP (for personal experiment). I also found out that the princing scheme is weird.. dunno why they like the number xx8.

#Router Issues
Ism.. I'm using wrt54g ver 2.2 - thibor firmware. I read that dd-wrt has succesfully hacked wrt54g ver 5 (but I never tried it with my new linksys). The reason why most ppl have to restart their router is because linksys firmware (brain) is not smart enough to handle heavy network traffic. Bah.
megat said…
I keep losing espeed connection signal evey now and then and to be clicking on the 'repair connection' button again and again can be really frustrating.

My comment on espeed? i dont know about you bt $98/month is quite high for such an unreliable service. it is just a luxury not everybody can afford. Talk about the country trying to promote and integrate IT more into the community -_-
Imagine back then pre-easi era, mobile phones were considered a luxury to have bt now almost everybody can afford to own one. So IMO to attract more customers telbru needs to reconsider their package plans (we dont need higher speed, just lower prices, thank you) where the pricing is such that it is both FAIR to the customer and telbru themselves.
But would they be willing to take that gamble? and will the current infrastructure be able to cater the needs of more customers (because it keeps lagging/slowing down too much at the moment already).

Come on, ever since we got the internet here in brunei the opinion page in Borneo Bulletin had been filled with internet connection complains almost week-in-week-out basis so i do hope as a private company telbru will be more serious into this matter. The sad reality about this is: "WE CHOSE YOU (ESPEED/TELBRU) BECAUSE WE JUST DONT HAVE A CHOICE BUT YOU" >_>

oh yea, after lots of complaining, i will never trust the operators again. If you guys have a complain to make, better call straight to the technician area. (i remember i could connect my espeed for almost two months and in those two months i keep complaining to the operators and they replied "yes we are gong to forward this to the techs and theyll be working on it", bt then finally i got the tech. area no. and called, THEY FIXED it in just ONE DAY. i seriously doubt they were forwarding the complains..
Vixennova said…
My dear anonymous Garbo Gabby,

I dont blame you for being very pissed with the services being offered. Of course consumers have the rights to complain.

And where AiTi is concern, I was merely setting an awareness, to one of Mr BR's comment, that such a regulatory body does exist in Brunei D.

Of course, efficiency hasn't really taken effect much in laid-back, relaxed Brunei. Hopefully, in future, I believe ppl with visions like yourself can make far greater change in Brunei.

Thank you.
Anonymous said…
It's hard to find the exact cause of these problems so maybe that's why even the technicians are not able to solve it.

My connection used to be crap. After so many arguments with the technicians , changing modems, getting a new router, having a static IP and getting my phone line replaced, I still encounter lost connections once in a while.

So you can't help but think that it may be due to the infrastructure or to which exchange you are connected to or the competency of the techinicians in the different exchanges.

Other than that, I don't have any complains to TelBru and I wish them all the best in the future. :)
althought i still go through the lost connections, i have to admit that espeed has improved in the last 6 months or so..

my encounters with lost connections are quite often, but its easily fixed by switching the power of the modem.. it is a chore whenever i cant connect to the internet but i got used to it..

yes, espeed is going on the right direction but its going rather slowly.. :)

i love espeed btw.. :)
harude said…
I am aware of AiTi since it's inception, but know little of it's purpose. Reading Vixennova's comment with regards to the PMO having the final word on imposed fines, this sort of makes the existence of AiTi redundant. My guess is that AiTi is not a separate government entity, but rather is just an extension of the PMO. Correct me if I'm wrong on this matter. The AiTi website does not really offer much content for the opinionated individuals.

With regards to espeed2 connectivity, I'm proud to say that I am one happy customer. People complain about the slow connection speed and high charges. You're comparing it to what? Similar services that are being provided overseas? Move overseas then, else stop cry-babying.

Given time, TelBru can and will improve. Like what was mentioned before, it has actually achieved something since it's corporatising from JTB. Sadly, to the ignorant, these changes seem insignificant to their wretched, ungrateful daily lives.

I find that efficiency in Brunei comes in two ways: 1) when the Sultan makes a visit; 2) when I come for a visit. What this means, I leave it to your own imagination.
Anonymous said…
I'm another happy customer. I live in KB and uses the Mumong exchange. I used to lose my connections a lot, which I would readily blame on JTB or TelBru, but upon investigation it turned out that someone in the house was bittorrenting! So he ate up the whole bandwidth and denied me the access to the net. I resolved the problem and hey presto, no more problem. So those of you with wireless access points, check if someone was leeching off from your signals!
But seriously, I am happy with the espeed service. Touch wood, but I have never encountered major problem with days upon days of lost espeed connection.
And did you say it's better elsewhere but Brunei? Nope, you're wrong. I have some friends who live in KL and complain that their 512kbps is worse than dial-ups. And not only it is slow, it breaks down like 80% of the time! So do you still want that kind of service?
As of the price, yes it's a bit steep, but hey, TelBru is the only provider here, so it's upto them to charge however much they want to charge. And stop comparing to other places. If you still insist to, lets compare the prices of KFC and Pizza Hut too!
And kudos to TelBru for trying to better their service. I have nothing but high hope to see hi-speed internet in Brunei to get better.
Anonymous said…
Re: Harude's comment...
"I find that efficiency in Brunei comes in two ways: 1) when the Sultan makes a visit; 2) when I come for a visit. What this means, I leave it to your own imagination."

Is Harude the Sultan himself? So if he is, how do you feel that HM himself reads your blog, Mr BR?
amyheidi said…
I use espeed2 as well, and most of the time I have no problem with it. Though there was one time I had a problem at 3 am, and the technicians said that, it was probably due to heavy traffic. Umm, at 3 am on a school night? I don't think so.
Of course we need to give TelBru a chance, but it is rather disappointing when they are not taking the opportunity to improve themselves on the change.
I find it odd that the operators will talk to you politely if you converse to them in English, but otherwise if you talk to them in Malay.
What I think TelBru need to do is educate their staff on how to work efficiently and improve their discipline, plus to instill politeness in handling customers in their staff's mind.
kediaku said…
too many anonymous comments... is it just one person complaining???
Dalila said…
I'm using the small, green & white in colour modem atu jua. It still mysteriously goes on and off at times, especially at night. But as rebelandaliberator said, I got used to it too. Annoying plang. Huhu.
Anonymous said…
Does all this really matter?

The fact of the matter is.. the ESP2 infrastructure is still in its infancy (since the so called upgrade) and the technical human resources of TelBru cannot solve the problem. Yet, they are forcing ppl to swap over to ESP2 by November or face disconnection due to non-support.

I was an ESP2 subscriber a few years ago when the trial started. I paid my deposit and participated in their trial. During that time.. the connection was intermittent. Seriously ridiculous. At the end of the trial, I was being charged $98 a month.. I paid thinking they would solve the situation soon. I went through 2 modem changes and the problem was still there. At best over about a year of service, I stopped paying about 6 months in. I was stupid enough to pay six months for nothing and now I was still getting nothing. For 128kbit line (approx 12kbyte theoritical throughput) I was getting 0.3-0.7kbytes! Complaining never got anywhere. Had this changed, that changed, new lines installed.. blah blah blah until i got so fed up I sought out ESP1. They moved the line over and I finally had my internet again. I have a fixed IP so I could host my sites and work. Yes, work! Everything was fine and dandy until they started moving ppl over again.. was told to switch over voluntarily by November or have no support/service. Why? I've not had the need to call up support eversince I moved to ESP1!

Now to the topic of regulatory bodies.. what can you do? I am pretty sure hundreds if not thousands of subscribers are paying every month for nothing. What can you do to compensate the subscribers for their precious hard earn money paid for little or no satisfactory service? Can u fine TelBru? Will it make a difference? Will things improve? Unlikely. The problem stems from a lack of competence in the implementation of the ESP2 infrastructure and the lack of an administration without enough guts to solve the problem once and for all.
Synyster said…
hehe same thing happened to me. I was at the office, and working at a private IT company, the internet and the emails were the catalyst of our business, therefore, no internet = no business. so I called them, TelBru and told them the problem. instantly they told me to reboot my router and modem; and wait 5 minutes.

So i did it. wait 5 mins. didnt work. called them again.

but this time I was more persistant.

so they put me on hold as they asked their technician. they came back, they apologised and said that the problem were from their end.

now this tells me one thing, that their staffs are train to bullshit their customers.
Anonymous said…
infancy? Yeah, I think that's the right word. While broadband has been here for long (in IT years), I have yet to see the full benefits of the so-called Next Generation Network. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't know if they also handle the EG Bandwidth. Imagine if the network used by the gov't still has some connectivity problems then sadly we cannot expect the public network to be better.

Heavy traffic is not an excuse isn't it? If they could forecast the number of subscribers to increase, they should have planned to improve the infrastructure in the first place. This is no longer the age where people surf the Net just to get info. That was as we call it, Tahun 6 punya zaman. Suits the 1st or 2nd generation of the Net. At this age, people download stuffs from mp3s to videos and watch tv online.

The current modem is a bit crap for me. If only we are allowed to buy other modem, I'll catch the first flight to Singapore and get myself a better modem. hehehe

Telbru really have to pull their strings together fast or they wouldn't even make a difference.
Intaniz said…
Whoa. Exactly the same thing happens to me. Apparently my white and green espeed modem has to be restarted everytime the connection is down. This experience makes me a bit insaf though because everytime I reached out to switch off the modem, the amount of heat coming out of it is just amazing. Maybe the poor abused thing just need to rest for a while from all that torrenting. :). Maybe it's sign that I should do something else more worthwhile this ramadhan. :D

I also can emphatise on feeling like a uneducated fool whenever I call TelBru everytime my connection is dead. Come the engineer, and all he did was switch on/switch off the modem. Maybe next time I'll just give a call to TelBru to tell them my connection is down, and while they do their magic, I'll just try to do the restart modem thang.

(edit - Ps. I just scrolled up to see doululu's "The reason why most ppl have to restart their router is because linksys firmware (brain) is not smart enough to handle heavy network traffic. Bah." Ok, I'll think I need to lay off the torrenting a bit, even on school nites. I thought no one in Brunei was online at 3 am, so hantam lah brabis connexion. XD)

I work in a ICT service provider as well and I remember when I was working in the Tech Support area, we kept having weird and wonderful things that were only solved by something as mundance as 'clearing internet cache'. Despite what our helpdesk team's effort to publish printed manuals and FAQs across the website and repetitive instructions to just 'clear internet cache', we still got calls (less by then) to help solve "why is the internet stuck???!! Nda kamu kraja kah d sana atu, ku report arah Minister/Govt/Sultan krang?!". Ouch.

From the regulatory perspective, I agree there should be a level of service commitments to be drawn up and endorsed by respective agencies, and practiced stringently by the organisation i.e. TelBru (waseh macam long @ss consultant speak. Apologies Mr. BR. for the winding comment, macam post tah pulang). Which makes me wonder, now that TelBru is no longer a govt agency, if TPOR no longer applies to it, what does? Anyone here with an insight to this? Mr. BR? Harude? Garbo Gabby? Vixennova? Why is it all TelBru this, TelBru that, and AiTi this, AiTi that? Ministry of Communication mana? Too many dinners/meetings to organise issit?

Lastly (I promise!), is there anyone here other than Vixennova is doing anything at all (good luck girl in bugging busy manageMENt to get any kind approval, I know very well how hard it is to get their feedback, let along their attention) to help improve the info-com-tech situation in Brunei, or are we just another bunch of complaining customers/online students with too much time on hand who talk talk talk but no apparent effort hmm?

Lastly (for real this time!), thank you Mr. BR for not deleting my long winded comments and ignorant views, and thank you for this blog!
Megat said…
You know what i always do when i see the internet signal on the modem isnt blinking? i always call the house phone and then its back to normal without restarting the modem -_-
Anonymous said…
Megat..

Really?

Hmmm.. that means that there really is something wrong with the technical side.. calling the hsephone means pumping electrical pulses through the system.. and if that 're-activates' the lines.. means the line is down due to insufficient power.

Hmm.. that makes a lot of sense.. could be a prime reason.. again.. who are the 'consultants' to the NGN infrastructure? Why is this so? Something pops to mind.. competency.. Every so often, tenders are often awarded to incompetent and inexperienced vendors.. often ppl who do not know what they are doing.. and often ppl who bring in so called experts who themselves are bags of hot air. As I said before.. the issue arises from the infrastructure itself.. improper or incompetent implementation? Hope someone looks into this..

It may solve these issues once and for all..
Anonymous said…
as much as i Hate the espeed services, and oh how many times i feel like pulling my hair each time a killer lag spike hits me, or the random 'offline' status on ure modem when the line light turns off. But. we must realise of our demography first. :\

brunei's population is less than 450k. and in that number, not more than half is willing to pay for having an internet connection. now, setting up an internet connection from a country to connect to the WWW isnt cheap and with more 'speed' and stability comes more price. if we try to divide that price with the amount of ppl in brunei thats willing to pay for a connection, we would get a very large total in the end. which is why brunei's connection is SLOW compared to the rest of the modern world, which is why brunei's internet charges is sooo high compared to the rest of the modern world, and which is also why we wont never have fast cheap speed in brunei due to this very reason.

well at least they didnt lie in their advert. cause they never said "Fast connectivity, Cheap pricing" they just said faster, as compared to 56k modem, and affordable as compared to the prices if we were to stay online the whole time on a dialup and due to the good wage bruneians get here.

just wish they would hire more a more compitent customer service center then the current ones.. omg...
Anonymous said…
Instead of continually whining and complaining how about some constructive comments and criticism directed to the organisation in question. Write to TelBru or DSTCom or AiTi or the Ministry of Communications for that matter - a phonecall can be ignored, a flood of snail mail or email cannot.
Anonymous said…
What choice do we have...? It was like DST before...charging for a phone calls way up high...only after another operator things started to improve..same goes to the internet...i personally think 98 bucks is way over the top... but then again...would you rather not being connected to the world...? Few weeks ago, i read about the Malaysian goverment trying to open an internet gateway...don't remember what they call it, but if it really happen, thats one way Telbru/AiTi should consider..then the 98 Bucks would be really-really worthit. Places like singapore,malaysia now are talking about Mbps while us here, kbps...that says it really. And the service, to be perfectly honest, really, need lots of improvement.

Thats just my personal opinion...

Popular posts from this blog

Brunei Royal Wedding 2015: Profile of Royal Bride Dayangku Raabi'atul Adawiyyah

Chinese Temple in Brunei Town

Bruneian in Atomic Bomb Hiroshima