Thursday, August 31, 2006

Smart Broke

Apologies to blogreaders. I couldnt upload new posts in the past days. Our internet connection for almost a week now was intermittent and/or no connection at all.

We are being served by a Smart cell cite hooked to a satellite. It is called Smart Bro, now baptized as Smart Broke.

Here's an excerpt of an article on this problem published by Philippine Daily Inquirer sometime last May 2006.

CONSUMER group TXTPower is urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to stop Smart Communications from accepting new customers to its fixed wireless Internet service until it resolves pending complaints from existing subscribers.

TXTPower said it was speaking in behalf of complainants, but NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento told INQ7.net that the regulator would act only after the group files a formal complaint.

“We will act on this until we see a complaint. If they do that, we can call Smart and their group to explain,” Sarmiento added.

TXTPower convenor Anthony Cruz said TXTPower was urging the NTC to take action in behalf of existing subscribers who had filed complaints with the agency. The consumer group noted that some [?] subscribers [now including DWST] have expressed dissatisfaction over the service, dubbed Smart Bro.

Smart Bro, formerly known as Smart Wifi [a marketing strategy because Smart Wifi was stormed with complaints] is a fixed wireless broadband Internet service.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., the mother company of Smart, reported recently that there were at least 40,000 subscribers to Smart Bro nationwide.

Since its launch September 2005, Smart said that Smart Bro now covers 300 towns spanning from Batanes in the North to Tawi-Tawi in the South. About 65 percent of these subscribers are located outside Metro Manila, the operator added.

"Smart should be stopped from accepting new Smart Bro subscription applications until they are able to solve the connection problems, customer service and other concerns of its existing subscribers. The service has been described in many Internet forums as below-par, unreliable and slower than promised," Cruz said.

TXTPower suggested that the moratorium on new Smart Bro subscriptions be implemented immediately, with an accompanying NTC investigation on how Smart is operating the service, the customer service mechanisms offered to subscribers, and how problems are being solved.

"Indeed, the NTC should not turn a blind eye on Smart's multimillion-peso Smart Bro media campaigns while existing subscribers suffer from poor service," added Cruz.

The consumer group suggested that the NTC ask Smart to refund aggrieved subscribers.

"If Smart cannot solve the problems, the company should be ordered to waive the one-year subscription contracts so that subscribers could apply for broadband services of other more reliable providers," the group said.

Cruz said Congress has recently tackled House Resolution 1197 authored by Representative Manuel Zamora, which seeks an investigation on the widespread allegations of poor services of “Smart Wifi” and other broadband Internet services in the country.

Smart Bro is a fixed wireless solution that rides on the nationwide cellular network of Smart to deliver wireless broadband Internet service to subscribers. Subscribers will need an aerial antennae to establish a wireless connection to the nearest base station located at a Smart cellular site close to the subscriber's home. Cables connect the antenna to the subscriber's PC.

This wireless technology requires that the subscribers’ antennae have a clear "line-of-sight" alignment and be within a 1.5-kilometer radius from the nearest Smart cellular site.

Smart Bro subscribers pay a monthly subscription cost of at least 999 pesos a month.

TXTPower said that some subscribers have complained about the "low quality" of Smart customer service assigned for Smart Bro concerns.

"Oftentimes, subscribers are put on hold for half an hour before calls are actually answered. When calls get through, the customer service representative could only offer standard replies to problems and gives no help to helpless subscribers," the group said.

©2006 www.inq7.net all rights reserved

http://news.inq7.net/infotech/index.php?index=1&story_id=76876

Consumer group to NTC: Stop Smart Bro wireless Internet
First posted 10:05pm (Mla time) May 25, 2006
By Erwin Lemuel Oliva
INQ7.net

DWST problems: no connection (last weekend: Friday to Sunday and since yesterday till 5:53 this morning, 31 August); intermittent connection (since last week till this morning); slower connection than what we experienced in the first week after installation, it could not even open Yahoo for sometime. [posted by rcf 31 August 2006].

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