PHUKET: In the past five editions of Live Wire, I’ve been talking about the things you need to consider if you want to get a good internet connection in Phuket. Believe me, it ain’t easy. I’m moving to Kathu shortly, and the kinds of problems I’m having are no doubt indicative of the kinds you’ll have, the next time you need a new internet connection – or you get fed up with your current package.
Two weeks ago, I talked about getting a wireless “3G” service for phones, tablets, and even for your computer. I also talked about setting up most phones so that they hook into the 3G network, then let computers connect to the internet over the phone, using a standard WiFi connection. The process is called “tethering” and it’s very simple if your phone or tablet supports it.
The main problem? 3G connections have data caps – some allow you to download 4 or 5 GB of data in a month before they cut the speed way back. Some 3G packages cap out at 1 GB (roughly 1 GB = 1 hour of high definition TV or movies). While the packages are “unlimited” in the sense that you’ll always be able to get data, going over the limit will have you thinking you’re back in the 1990s.
Last week, I pontificated with six Laws of Land Lines: Use 3G instead of a land line if your data needs aren’t very great; never get one land line, get two; it’s impossible to predict if your land line is going to be fast and reliable; the price you pay for a land line may have no bearing whatsoever on the speed (or reliability) that you see; the technician won’t show up when you expect; and, quite demonstrably, times are changing.
Just this past week I discovered that 3BB is starting to build out its fiber network in Phuket.
4G is coming to Bangkok (but, no, that “4G” phone you have doesn’t run 4G, no matter what the salesman told you). A great line now may be tomorrow’s old news – both because existing lines get slower with age, and because newer technology is always just around the corner.
This week I talk about getting – or trying to get – a land line. If you rely on the internet to work, stay in touch with family and friends, look up TV or movie schedules, do schoolwork, just keep peace with the kids, or download movies (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln, Silver Linings) or TV shows (House of Cards, Community, Breaking Bad) that aren’t playing in Thailand, you should always get two landlines, from two completely different companies.
I tend to think of landline internet service in Thailand as falling into three major categories.
First, the ultra-premium internet services have the potential to work faster than the other services – with a price tag to match. TOT Fiber 2U is the original fiber optic service on the island. CAT also has a fiber service, that isn’t as widely known, called ON Net.
I was very surprised to discover last week that 3BB has also entered the fiber fray with a new FTTH service. (“FTTH” is geekspeak for “Fiber To The Home”), operated in conjunction with Jasmine’s JAS. The flyer for 3BB FTTH says it can run at 1,000 Mbps – about 200 times faster than the fastest fiber line I’ve ever tested in Phuket – although it’s comparable to the new fiber network built by Google in Kansas City. I suggest you take that 3BB speed claim with several truckloads of salt. The 30 Mbps rated 3BB FTTH service is currently only available in some condos in Phuket Town, but I put my name on a waiting list, to see when they expand the service to Kathu. I haven’t yet seen any speed reports for FTTH.
I would also place True’s DOCSIS system in the ultra-premium category. Since it’s based on coax cable – just like Cable TV – it has the potential to run very quickly, but it isn’t available all over the island. And that’s precisely the problem with the ultra-premium lines: the companies selling the services all tend to run lines to the same locations.
If you live in their catchment area, you have many choices. If you live in an older neighborhood, like mine, there’s very little chance, unless you can convince the
powers that be of the economic viability of stringing a line.
True’s Fiber 2U at a listed 10 Mbps (which currently runs about 1 to 1.5 Mbps or less; see phuketinternetspeed.com) costs 1,000 baht per month (all prices are plus VAT). CAT’s 20 Mbps runs 1,500 baht per month. 3BB’s nominal 30 Mbps is 1,200 baht per month. True’s DOCSIS 15 Mbps (I wouldn’t get the slower lines) is 899 baht per month.
Of the group, my first choice would be True DOCSIS 15 Mbps. I’ve used DOCSIS before – two of the Sandwich Shoppes run DOCSIS lines – and they’ve been reasonably fast and cheap. People I know who use True Fiber 2U are vocal in their complaints. CAT and 3BB are new to me, although CAT’s old Fiber line, years ago, wasn’t very impressive.
Second is a group that I would call Premium ADSL. All of the major ADSL providers – TOT, True, CAT, 3BB – offer packages that are deemed to be faster than the typical garden-variety ADSL. True’s nominal 16 Mbps line costs 1,399 baht per month. CAT’s HiNet 16 Mbps is 1,490 baht per month. TOT’s 8-10 Mbps line is 650 baht per month, and if you want a faster line, they point you to the 15 Mbps Fiber 2U package, at 1,290 baht per month. 3BB’s 16 Mbps runs at 1,490 baht per month. Premium ADSL packages are available just about everywhere on the island.
These packages are in a strange middle ground: the companies are trying to squeeze more baht out of the older ADSL technology, but it isn’t at all clear if they’re delivering speeds that are significantly faster than the cheap lines.
Which brings me to… the cheap ADSL lines. TOT’s 6-7 Mbps line, 3BB’s 10 Mbps line, CAT’s 10 Mbps line, and True’s 10 Mbps line all run at just under 600 baht per month. For the life of me, I haven’t found one to be particularly faster or more reliable than all the others – and none of them come close to 10 Mbps for international download speeds. Typically they all run one-tenth to one-twentieth of the rated speed.
There’s one little ‘gotcha’ that’s worth keeping in mind when you talk with friends about their internet lines, or look at the numbers at phuketinternetspeed.com: all of the internet service providers in Phuket will automatically, and with no notification, put customers in higher, faster packages, without raising the price.
For example, I have a True 10 Mbps line – which I started three years ago – which is now comparable to the True 16 Mbps line. I have a feeling they switched that package without telling me.
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, there’s no reliable way to tell which package you’re really using, without visiting the service provider and asking. Even then, I wouldn’t bet that the answer you get is correct.
Starting this month, a German-language group will hold informal computer clinics at the Sandwich Shoppe in Patong on Sunday mornings, at 11am. Sehr gut!
Our regular weekly computer clinic roundtables continue every Sunday morning, 10am at the Sandwich Shoppe, Chalong. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, or a question about internet service in Phuket, drop by and ask one of the assembled gurus. It’s always free. Sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.
Live Wire is Woody Leonhard’s weekly s
— Woody Leonhard
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
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.
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.
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.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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