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Phuket Live Wire: An update on international download speeds in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Live Wire: An update on international download speeds in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Time for an update on how Phuket’s doing for real world, measured international internet speeds. I’m not talking about the advertised 10 megabits or 100 megabits-per-second lines that only exist in marketing drivel and a few internet service provider’s fantasies. I’m talking about speeds that you and I are measuring, in the wild, right here, every day.

The short headline: we’re doing well, but you can waste a lot of money if you aren’t careful.

The crowdsourced internet speed site, PhuketInternetSpeed.com, is unique in all of Asia, I believe. Hundreds of people all over the island have signed up, and take a minute or so to measure and post their international internet download speeds. We all use the same test, to the same location, so the results are more-or-less replicable. The graph you see on this page is indicative of the 3,000 observations that were posted between November 1, 2011 and February 19, 2012.

I say “indicative” because there are a few gotchas, which I’ll describe below.

First, I downloaded the database. You can download the entire database, too, any time – just click on the link that says Download. There are more than 25,000 recorded observations.

Then, I removed items that were obviously not intended for this analysis – mostly measured download speeds to Bangkok, conducted by people who are using the ISP’s speed test sites and other sites hosted by a company called OOKLA. As I’ve explained before any test you run that uses the OOKLA speed test engine is really just going to Bangkok, even if you think it’s going to London or Oslo or Madrid.

I also took out a fair number of tests conducted from places other than Phuket. It’s interesting to see how people in Bangkok and other upcountry locations are doing with the same internet service providers, but they aren’t included in these figures.

I also removed the “0” posts – ones that indicate the service wasn’t working at the time. We’re still seeing sporadic outages, but most of them are local (for example, a telephone pole gets whacked by a car). The widespread outages involve wireless services, and they’re not common.

Then I tallied up the average download speeds reported for the most popular internet service packages, with one exception. I didn’t include any reports for 3BB. Why? Because 3BB has gone to great pains to make its speed test results in our tests faster than their typical international speeds.

If you look at the data, here’s what you’ll see:

The first two speeds reported are wireless. AIS’s “3G” HSPA system continues to deliver the fastest 3G international download speeds on the island, at about 1,000 Kbps. TrueMove-H shows disappointing results, around 800 Kbps. Why disappointing? The technology TrueMove uses, called HSPA+, is capable of running much faster than AIS’s HSPA. Unfortunately, True isn’t working hard enough (or spending enough money) to open up its international data lines. Yet another case of bigger and better technology getting knee-capped by inadequate infrastructure.

There are two more wireless services offered in Phuket: DTAC HSPA+ and CAT’s new HSPA+. We’ve had very few reported speeds from DTAC and CAT connections, but the few we’ve seen have been very good. Both TrueMove and DTAC use the CAT towers and equipment, so it’s likely that more data points will make DTAC and CAT look more like TrueMove, and less like AIS.

CAT’s old EV-DO wireless system is still kicking at around 600 Kbps (not on the graph). There are lots of old EV-DO customers on the island, but you can’t buy it any more. CAT’s much more interested in selling you a new 3G+ account.

The next two speeds are new to my published reports. Island Technology’s reputation for reliability is quite good though their international download speeds, averaging 900 Kbps, aren’t anything to write home about. Rawai Cable, at 400 Kbps, is the slowest land line in this report. We don’t have enough data from Patong’s PA Cable to draw a comparison, but I believe both use CAT as their internet supplier.

The TOT numbers reinforce what I recently wrote about TOT’s apparent throttling of all of its international data lines at the same speed. That Live Wire column explained why it isn’t worth paying extra for expensive TOT fiber optic lines if you’re using the internet primarily for international access. In fact, TOT still seems to be throttling all of its lines at the same speed.

More than any other ISP, TOT has come up with a plethora of packages, promotions and prices. At this moment, as best I can tell, they don’t offer a 4 Mbps or 8 Mbps or 10 Mbps package – all of which have been discontinued – but they do offer 6, 7, 9, 12, and 15 Mbps packages. Apparently consumers are being switched from one package to the next without being notified.

In our island-wide tests, there’s very little difference among the TOT ADSL packages: all of them deliver about 1,200 Mbps on international downloads. The wireless/wired AirMax Winet package is doing quite well, at 1,400 Kbps, if you’re trying to get a connection inside the areas where it’s available.

TOT is now advertising a High Speed 2 package rated at 7 Mbps for 390 baht per month. Our speed tests show it’s running about 800 Kbps, which isn’t bad at all for the price. Of course, if the package proves popular, TOT may start throttling the cheapie package. But if they’re throttling all of the other packages at the same rate, maybe they’ll just let the 7 Mbps package get swept up by the same broom.

The biggest disappointment continues to be TOT’s Fiber Optic line. Back in May, we were seeing download speeds in the 10,000 and above range. Now it’s down to 1,200 Kbps average international download, and there’s very little difference between the 10Mbps/1Mbps package (at 1,490 baht per month), the 20 Mbps/2Mbps package (at 2,420 baht per month), and the “Corporate” versions of both of those packages ( 5,290 baht and up). It’s worth emphasizing that the speeds to Bangkok are very fast, from what I’ve seen. But if most of your work is with international sites, there’s very little difference between a 2,420 baht Fiber 2U line and a 390 baht one.

True’s 10 Mbps ADSL line continues to offer good speeds, 1,500 Kbps on average, at a decent price. True’s Ultra DOCSIS – the service that’s delivered over coax cables, like TV, is holding its own at about 1,200 Kbps, but it isn’t available everywhere.

If you aren’t yet reporting your internet speeds, join us! The only way we can all keep tabs on the internet situation in Phuket is if everybody – yes, even those of you with 390 baht/month lines – take a few minutes every day to check and post your speed. It’s easy. Sign up at PhuketInternetSpeed.com, and if you have any questions, email me at Woody@KhunWoody.com.

With Woody hunkered down writing a book, the weekly Computer Clinics are taking a new turn. Until Woody emerges with an 860-page copy of “Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies” under his arm, around May or June, Seth Bareiss will hold computer sessions every-other Wednesday afternoon, from 1 to 3pm. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, drop by one of Seth’s free afternoon sessions at the Sandwich Shoppes. Details in the Phuket Gazette Events Calendar.

The sessions are sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.

Live Wire is Gazette columnist Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket.

Follow him on Twitter: — Woody Leonhard

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.



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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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