PHUKET: With renovations running full-tilt on my new digs in Kathu, near Phuket Town, it’s time for me to stop hypothesizing and analyzing, pays my money, and takes my chances. That’s what this week’s Live Wire is all about – taking chances on a new internet land line.
Two weeks ago, I broke down the internet services in Phuket into three very broad (and admittedly poorly defined) categories.
The ultra-premium services include the well-known TOT Fiber 2U and True’s DOCSIS cable internet (which they call “Ultra”). Lesser-known packages include CAT’s fiber-based ON Net and 3BB’s new fiber FTTH, which are only available in a few condo complexes in Phuket. All of those packages have the potential to provide better-than-average service. Unfortunately, at least judging by the numbers we’re seeing at phuketinternetspeed.com, TOT Fiber 2U has taken a big dive in speed since late last year. True DOCSIS is holding up reasonably well, but their speeds aren’t anything to write home about, and as I explained last week, the DOCSIS 20 Mbps service all over Thailand has been up and down all month.
The ultra-premium lines are only available in specific locations in Phuket. I was a bit disappointed to find that, although I’m moving into one of the older housing developments on the island – splitting the distance from both the Kathu Waterfall road and Loch Palm Golf Course – TOT doesn’t run fiber to the area, and True doesn’t have a DOCSIS line. Since 3BB only runs fiber to (sniff) about six different condo complexes, and they’re all in Phuket Town, that left me with just one choice, in the may-be-very-fast-some-day category, CAT ON Net.
I talked with the people at CAT on the middle floor of Central Festival, and they’re positive about the location – although, I’m not sure if that means they already have a line nearby, or if somebody figured it’s all of 50 meters from the house to the cable-rich road to Kathu Waterfall. I’ve been assured that CAT will run a fiber optic line to my house. It will take a while, but at least it’s available. I’ll keep you posted on the results.
The next level down, which I call premium ADSL services, for lack of a better term, include the TOT, True, CAT and 3BB ADSL packages that run a bit faster than the bargain-basement packages.
Or, at least in theory, they run faster. In practice, I’m not entirely sure that’s true. Since all of these services are based on ADSL, and ADSL runs over every phone line on the island (to a greater or lesser extent), I could pick and choose, which service I wanted.
So I pored over the reports and finally settled on TOT’s nominal 15 Mbps ADSL line, which currently lists at 1,290 baht/month. I’m skeptical that the line won’t run any faster than TOT’s 10 Mbps ADSL line at 590 baht/month, but based on phuketinternetspeed.com test results, I’m willing to roll the dice.
It’s important to keep in mind that many outside forces influence your internet speed. The rated speed of the line (“10 Mbps, 15 Mbps”) is complete fiction, using any test other than the service provider’s. But higher rated speeds do often mean that your line is jumbled in with fewer other lines, and in theory fewer people will be using the higher rated line at any given time.
Many years ago, TOT offered two different ADSL services: the Gold package was considerably more expensive than the Silver package. In the very early days of the phuketinternetspeed.com site, we discovered that many Silver subscribers were actually seeing faster speeds than Gold subscribers. Why? My guess is that most TOT customers figured it was worth a few hundred extra baht to get the “better” line, and then when everybody piled into the Gold service, they brought it down. Kind of like a 2-rupee bus in India.
So I’m paying my money and taking my chances. I’ll go for a fancy Fiber line (CAT’s ON Net 20 Mbps line runs 1,500 bt/mo), and an upscale ADSL line (TOT 15 Mbps at 1,290 bt/mo). That puts me at about US$90 a month for internet, which is pretty typical for high speed access in the US. Of course, in the States, the lines run ten times faster, but I digress.
If my CAT line doesn’t come in, I’ll dump the ultra-premium class, and go for a cheap line – probably a 3BB nominal 10 Mbps line, for 590 bt/mo. Then I’ll start chipping away at TOT and True, to see if they can get me a fiber or DOCSIS line. Persistence counts, and it doesn’t hurt if you can find neighbors who will sign on a waiting list. Note how I’ve chosen two different lines from two different providers.
When I have the lines installed, I’ll only ask for a single-plug “modem” router from the internet service provider, with no WiFi. As I described in an earlier Live Wire, I set up my own fast router and plug a WiFi station into my router, so I can “hot swap” from one internet provider to another in a matter of seconds. Besides, the routers that the internet service providers use are generally, uh, not the best quality.
Internet speed is important to me, and it’ll be increasingly important to you, too. I’ve found that I can save thousands of baht a month by choosing a less-expensive satellite TV package, and hooking up my TV so that it runs off the internet. That, combined with some judicious downloading of TV series that aren’t available in Thailand, and connecting to services that are only available overseas, both improves my limited time in front of the tube, and lowers my monthly expenses. You may not have Hulu or Netflix yet, but I’m betting you will soon – or Vudu or the BBC iPlayer, or an internet TV service in your home country. And if you’re still paying for long distance phone calls, you should wake up and smell the Skype.
A reliable, fast internet connection can make all the difference.
This news just in: one of the people on phuketinternetspeed.com is getting outstanding service – the fastest speeds I’ve ever seen in Phuket – with a 5,500 baht/month TOT Fiber 2U package. It’s listed in TOT’s brochures as a 40 Mbps “Infinite Basic” line – I just love the names they come up with for internet packages – but he says it’s rated at 65 Mbps. Regardless of rating, he’s seeing a reliable speed of 12 to 25 Mbps for international downloads, using multiple testing sites. It’s by far the fastest line I’ve seen. Of course, TOT won’t run a fiber line to my house, and my wife would probably shoot me for spending 5,500 baht a month on internet, but it’s comforting to know that some packages really do stand up.
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 snapshot of all things Internet in Phuket.
‘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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