My last 5 months with Sify Broadband
Let me tell you the basic mantra of this page. DO NOT TAKE A SIFY BROADBAND CONNECTION. Why? There are loads of reasons and this page explains few of them. I have been a customer since December 2003 and I can safely say I have seen downtimes at an average of 3 days per week in these 5 months. This month alone, out of 25 days I have seen the net down for 15 days. And I am writing this article while my net was down for the last 2 days and there is still no guarantee of it coming up for god knows how long (apparently the international gateway is down along with the local network which is down as an additional convinience). So let’s begin! Shall we…
The mode of connection distribution is faulty
Sify has gone the way of franchise based network distribution in which the franchise (mostly the local cable TV operator) is responsible for the management and maintenance of the local network. And if you have a cable operator as nice as mine you would know this is not a good way to begin. Sify in this way get a nice little way of silencing the end customer as they don’t have the headache of maintaining the network. And how responsible the cable guy will be, I don’t need to explain.
The technology is faulty
In my area at least they have got a LAN based system which runs on wires hanging on poles and trees. They are connected with switches in between. The problem is that the network is so fragile that switches and power supplies get fried frequently like hot cakes with power fluctuations and other problems. They also go down big time when it rains or there are minor storms! And funnily the Delhi ’s Sify representative today asked me if I had anything to suggest to them to solve the problem. Of course when I suggested that Sify should get the network on a wireless backbone, they backtrack citing the costs! Now that means Sify requires network engineers to be their customers who can tell them what is wrong with their services.
The attitude is wrong
If you read their brochure you are made loads of promises. Reliability, great customer support and what not. But they don’t explain to you that you are getting the connection from a local CTO and not Sify. So, the quality that goes with the brand name does not apply to the service. And they also don’t tell you that the network you get on paying 3500 INR as installation gives you a net that can go down 20 days in a month. The Sify people now tell me to switch to either Dialup (!!!!) or a direct connection to their server (that cost around 50,000 INR to the end customer) if I need a reliable net! I wish they can explain these fine points to a prospective new customer.
They defend the CTO
I have fought hard. I have had arguments with the CTO, I have called the Chandigarh office thousand times, and I have even made STD calls to the Delhi office. And after a lot of effort they finally one day arrived at my house with the CTO. The CTO promised me in front of them, if given 4 days he will get me a secondary line. 10 days since then, now he is backtracking. Now he claims that the costing is too high to afford. And Sify is defending the CTO! The costs to CTO is important, the loss the user is suffering because of the in-competency of the CTO stands no where. So, the CTO can get away with lying but the user is an asshole, who can go to hell once he is screwed by becoming a customer of Sify Broadband. I don’t see much future for them if they defend the CTO while just overlooking the problems suffered by the customer.
Customer is an idiot
I went to the Sify’s office in Chandigarh and was enlightened by what I saw there! One of the Sify’s representatives actually told a Sify customer that he can go get another service if he does not like Sify’s service. And what was the poor guy asking for? He was asking for what Sify promised him initially. Another support individual was so nice to me when he said, the net can be down for further 2 to 10 days, he is not sure and he does not exactly care. This was the guy who told me to contact him in case the CTO does not provide me a second line when we all got together to look into my problem. Today he was the most vocal supporter of the freaking CTO.
Quality of Service
The technology is faulty! They cannot prevent the downtimes, but they can at least improve on response times! The response time I am getting is in range of 12 hours to 24 hours from the local CTO. Today the guys fixed my local network after around 26 hours. That is Sify Broadband for you. They have got 2 guys to serve entire city I live in. And when I raise that issue to the Sify people, they tell me that I should not comment upon what is CTOs responsibility. What the heck? I get service in 24 hours just because their are not enough guys to fix the network and I cannot even comment on that?
The lies and lies and lies
Even before I had taken the Sify’s services the lies had started coming. And the experiences in these 5 months here have given me more instances to talk about! Here are some I remember!
- Before I even shifted to Chandigarh , I had called the local CTO asking about the kind of services that Sify was providing in this area. And guess what I was told. I was told that the local customer is provided wireless connectivity!
- When I shifted here, I was promised 24 hours customer support and that some one will be always available at the local CTO office. The CTO office actually closes at 8PM and the CTO himself picks up phone at his leisure. He was not responding to calls at 11 am in the morning. And today was a Tuesday and not a Sunday!
- I was told that I will have a UPS based backup that will keep me up and running for around 5-6 hours. I got that UPS working only this month and that too after some individual arrived from Delhi office to get it done.
- This month only! As I mentioned above, the local CTO promised an alternative line that will keep my net working in case of a network problem on the local line. Now he is backtracking and no one is blaming him.
What they can do?
- If they cannot provide the service, don’t pretend to provide it!
- If they cannot serve the already existing customers stop taking new customers.
- If they cannot tell their CTOs to provide services to the customers then stop getting CTOs to serve the clients.
- If they don’t know what technology would work for Sify broadband, they should stop charging the suffering customers, take back their services, ask for a batch of 100 people in the areas they want to serve and do a crash testing of their services before it actually is worth charging for.
- Get responsible and people with some decency (this is pointing to one particular Mr. Raman in Sify’s Chandigarh office). Don’t make promises you cannot keep. And stop lying in faces of the customer.
- Stop crying in front of the customer about the expenses and loss the CTO is making. He is responsible for the network not me. If he cannot serve the customer properly, take away the dealership from him. If he has to get me a fibre optic connectivity for the reliability he promised me in the first place, he has to pay for it. He owns the network not me, I am paying for the connection not the connectivity.
- Get involved a little more in day to day working of the networks. Just blaming the CTO for anything and everything is not exactly funny. The CTO works for you not me. You can get him to do work not me. He can take out his personal grudge against me without you getting any idea about it. There need to be someone accountable and there should be someone who is available to take complaints. This is not cable TV for god sake, this is what some people’s livelihood runs on.
I am not alone, there are more!
The trip to the local office was enlightening. I saw a dialup customer who was being ripped off by the Sify people because he w
as not informed that his package which earlier had free hours no longer had them. Then I met 2 more customers who had their net not working since the last 2 days! And they were living pretty near to the main Sify’s office. Considering I live around 20 KMS from that office, should I feel lucky? I met another guy who was interested in getting a connection but his CTO was taking him for a ride since 30 days. He had kept his money and was later making excuses for not getting him a connection! He even offered to get him the necessary equipment but no use! And then I met another guy who had left Sify for BSNL and was happy.
Mark my word. Even the local internet guys are better. There is less attitude and better service. The net might run a bit slow (Sify is good on speeds) but they don’t play a blame passing game.