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Choosing an Internet Service Provider
by Kushal Shah

(Note: This article was published in Economic Times on Jan. 27, 2000)

Today "Internet, E mail , ecommerce , chatting & many other NET related buzzwords we hear every day. Question is how are we to get access to all this? Inevitable conclusion is you need to connect up to Internet. When you survey the services available, you find that many people are offering this connectivity.

Question is how to choose between different Internet Service Providers(ISP)?

Here are some issues to be aware of when shopping for an Internet connection:

Local Access Number & Ease of Connectivity

One main consideration is ease of access to the service. Namely, whether they have dial-up numbers which will permit you the connection to Internet easily or you have to redial many times?

Size & connectivity thought whole country

The size of ISP is a consideration. If the ISP has limited resources then he may not keep up with updating its equipment and have enough bandwidth to provide you with a good service. In this VSNL wins out hands down. It has access from every city through an easy number. Also, they have the largest bandwidth of any of the current service provider.

Customer Service

Setting up your computer for a new Internet Service Provider can range from straightforward to daunting, depending on your level of expertise. If you're new to the Internet, you should definitely look for an ISP that will be there to help you started. Many offer free software that will automatically configure your computer to work with their service.

Customer service doesn't end once you're up and running. The Internet is much more reliable than it was in the past, but problems do still occur. Does your ISP have a 24-hour support line that you can call? Do they have the answers to your questions when you call?

Today most of People in our country use internet to correspond with their relatives who live abroad & hardly anyone of them are computer literate, at this time a service provider who can provide on site service like one recently launched Nanda Netcom can really make a difference.

Remember don't feel bad because you can't figure out all of the details of connecting to the Internet. The system was never designed with consumers in mind, and it is the ISP's job to bridge that gap. That's what you're paying them for access to the Internet.

Performance & connection Speed

The actual speed you experience when using the Internet depends on many factors. The ISP may not have insufficient bandwidth to the Internet to

properly support all of the users who log on (this is like an airline overbooking an aircraft -- good for them, bad for you). The Web server (or e-mail server) that you are connecting to may be unable to handle the volume of traffic at a given time of the day..

It is like some ISP may offer u access at very inexpensive service, but question is connection speed? In our country telephone charges are high to remain online. Therefore good speed can make considerable cost difference.. For example, with one ISP it may take certain time to download e.g. a file. Other ISP who may offer 50 % lower cost for the service but does not good guarantee speed. Who would you chose? Of course the one with better speed is the choice. Many ISPs, today advertise their speed & better connectivity but question is do they really offer what they advertise?

Connection speed relies on ISP own infrastructure e.g. Internet Bandwidth (where they get access themselves) total capacity in MBPS, and how this capacity is shared between their customer base? When dialing up at what speed they give access? At 56.6 V.90 or 33.6? At this point VSNL is superior in terms of connectivity

VSNL has multiple servers through out the country, which are connected to different part of world and the total Internet bandwidth is over 80 MBPS. They are planning to keep increasing this Internet Bandwidth. In this respect other ISPs remain questionable where they provide their connectivity through 1 or 2 backbones which is not more then 2-6 MBPS. .In case this backbone is down or the traffic is heavy, your connectivity speed is at the very best questionable.

Remember speed is important only when u browse frequently e.g. every day and download large size files. If, however your interest is just e-mail & chatting speed is not a very important issue.


The cost of the service is obviously a major factor when choosing an Internet Service Provider. It is also easy to compare. But the lowest price isn't always the best deal. If the price seems to be significantly below the Industry rate, then something about the service is probably below the industry average like speed, connectivity & reliability


Considering all the factors above, VSNL still remains the number one choice at this time.

Copyright 2000 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.