Blog about the Net, Pakistan and more

Wednesday 26th March 2008

The dots in a Gmail address

Internet

A lot of people probably already know this, but I just found out. We often mix up email addresses just because they do or do not have a dot (.) in them. For example, I might have ahmedsajjad@example.com, but people will often email me at ahmed.sajjad@example.com which normally would fail.

It seems that Google had the foresight to take care of this when they launched GMail. Both of the above addresses would be treated as a single one with GMail so you can put a dot anywhere in the "localpart" area and it would still work.

A small, but useful detail.

 

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Posted at 02:05am PKT  Comments(13) |

Monday 3rd March 2008

Pakistan broadband free fall

Internet Pakistan

In an earlier post on bandwidth and mobile prices around the world, I predicted that increased competition would bring down broadband costs in Pakistan. It seems that "drop very fast" was an underestimation and we are witnessing a full-scale price war.

It started with PTCL (yes, the same guys who brought down YouTube last week) when they relaunched themselves last year. Their packages, such as the Unlimited 1Mbps DSL for just 4,999 rupees, caused quite a stir. The quality and support were horrendous but the offer was too tempting for most people to pass up on. Then Wateen Telecom appeared with an even cheaper solution (it really is cheap, unfortunately), using WiMAX as the last-mile medium.

Barely a month ago, LINKdotNET (my ex-employer, previously known as Dancom and WOL) launched their range of DSL packages that were about 20 percent less than PTCL's. I was already using a 512Kbps office connection from them which needed an upgrade so this was welcome news. However, despite having friends on the inside and being within meters of the exchange, both the performance and support has so far been a disappointment.

PTCL's new packages

DSL-512Kbps Unlimited DSL-1024Kbps Unlimited DSL-2Mbps Unlimited
 Rs. 1,199 / month  Rs. 1,999 / month  Rs. 4,999 / month
 Unlimited download  Unlimited download  Unlimited download
 Free Modem & Installation  Free Modem & Installation  Free Modem & Installation

PTCL recently slashed their prices offering twice the bandwidth for the same cost. Amazingly, LINKdotNET has been the quickest to react and has doubled the speed with their latest DSL packages. Though this kind of competition isn't new and frankly, Pakistan is years behind the rest of the world when it comes to broadband, it's the sudden change that is significant.

LINKdotNET's new packages

Speed Per Month Volume Per Month Monthly Fees
512 Kbps UnLimited Rs.1200
1 Mbps UnLimited Rs.2000
2 Mbps UnLimited Rs.3900

All this price cutting is great for the consumers. Unfortunately, this has caused a quite visible drop in quality. All these new packages are shared so you're unlikely to ever get the full advertised bandwidth. I'm currently using Wateen's WiMAX connection at home. It is probably the least reliable of any of the services currently available so I must find a copper-based alternative.

As tempting as these shared packages sound, I think I would rather opt for a slower, but more reliable connection. Micronet's DSL or Nayatel's fiber have usually led the market, both in terms of performance and price, though their response to the latest onslaught is yet to be seen. Could be just what I need.

 

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Posted at 17:33pm PKT  Comments(139) |

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