Friday, May 29, 2009

MTNL Blues

A month after my internet connection went on the blink, it has yet to be fixed. I've called the 1504 helpline dozens of times, and the divisional engineer almost as often. Mr Kore, head of the Shivaji Park side of operations, who returned from vacation a few days ago, has been the recipient of daily calls as well. Each time I speak to an officer, I have to explain anew the same details: number, address, nature of complaint. Not only do the MTNL chaps have no system to keep track of problems, they have personnel with serious memory deficiencies.
After failing to provide adequate service and costing me thousands of rupees thanks to transactions I couldn't complete online, the company has stuck me with substantial 'broadband usage charges'. This for a month during which its network barely functioned and in which I was abroad for two weeks. I have written to an address provided on the website asking for email contacts of top officers, but received no reply. The firm trumpets its internet services but doesn't have even a semblence of a web-based response. The 'live' assistance cell has apparently closed down, for if, after calling 1504, you hit option '3' for 'online help', you invariably get an apology message.
None of the big private companies has extended its service to my neck of the woods, else I'd have switched ISPs long ago. While I wait for Reliance and Airtel to bring their fat pipes to my doorstep, I'm hoping the new government initiates reforms which will allow the mass sacking of underperforming MTNL employees (which means, I'm guessing, about 90% of the workforce). Just two weeks ago, the company's officers in the capital went on a wildcat protest, switching off service to Delhi Airport, resulting in planes being grounded for hours. I'm through with being held hostage in this fashion by a bunch of lazy, corrupt clerks and linemen, and am even willing to give up the landline which was the family's only telecommunications device back in the bad old days of state monopoly and which remains the telephone number of choice for many old contacts.

10 comments:

shivani said...

Been thru the same shit with them, still have that bloody line I havent used for 3 YEARS....and they wont disconnect it and it doesnt work, use local cable internet now. At least you know the cable guy and he feels obliged to listen to u.
Best of luck.

Tushar said...

I believe the new Reliance CDMA data card is really good and fast. Maybe you should switch to that.

Girish Shahane said...

I've heard that too, Tushar, I'll check on it again; but there are two machines that run off my present broadband connection, so a fixed-line alternative seems the best bet.

NANDAKUMAR said...

MTNL is the best ISP in Mumbai.Airtel & Reliance are good for marketing.
regards,
kgnknair

Girish Shahane said...

I presume you have tried all 3 ISPs before making this statement. One thing I'm certain about is that I won't have to call Airtel and Reliance 25 times and send a dozen emails before a problem I'm having is sorted out.
I went 2 years with barely any trouble with MTNL broadband. It's when a glitch occurs that you understand what a truly horrible company it still is.

Anonymous said...

GS, i have an entire bunch of email ids of the powers that be at mtnl mumbai. its in public domain so do what my son did last year. he sent an email detailing his problems to every single person on that list and repeated it every other day. within 10 days his problems were solved, those engineers duly admonished and he got repeated calls from the mtnl office. and this d-link issue is a big scam btw. our neighbour was told the same thing as you but she herself resolved it by simply re-setting the router. u'd do well to mention the possibility of a scam when you write to all these people as the addresses incl that of the ED of mtnl

Girish Shahane said...

Thanks, good to know those email IDs are available. My own connection was superfast for a few days after I complained to higher-ups, but now it's gone back to misbehaving. At least I'm now certain there was never any problem with the router.
After the current setback I've contacted Tata and plan to switch by month-end. That's the former VSNL, of course, I hear they have problems of their own, but hopefully it won't be as painful as MTNL's fraudband (a term I'm borrowing from a chap on Facebook who faced similar MTNL blues)

Anonymous said...

but isnt tata far far more expensive ? we had also looked at this very closely but found that tata does some sleight of hand by offering tariffs for diff speeds whereas MTNL has a fixed 2mbps download speed on the limited plans and they are very cost effective. our assessment was that we would shell out far more on tata . hasten slowly thats all.

Anonymous said...

another thing - mtnl gives a static ip for a fee and our experience has shown it to be better for tech. problem solving when they do occur.
earlier, mtnl used to have some very competent engineers -local marathi boys - at prabhadevi who would check problems online and then instruct the linesman correctly. i expect the unions of the old guard got wind of this and had all these young men booted out who then joined tata and other cos.

Girish Shahane said...

Yes, Tata is more expensive, but, if it works, I'm willing to pay the price. MTNL's been off for hours today, and the helpline's been engaged as well, indicating a serious problem. I can't afford these interruptions and there appears to be no end in sight.