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.