More than two months after its launch, the BSNL is yet to overcome the teething troubles of its prestigious WiMax network. The BSNL launched its commercial urban WiMax network in Ernakulam in February. It was announced that the service would be available in the corporation limits, Nedumbassery airport and Tripunithura initialyy and to other parts of the district soon. However, WiMax customers are far from happy.
“The speed is less than the promised 500 Kbps and the officials are not taking any initiatives to solve the issue,” said K B Krishnakumar, a professional web designer.
Whenever a customer approaches the commercial office of the BSNL for a WiMax connection this office will ask for a feasibility report from the concerned exchange. Owing to the inability to satisfy the existing customers who frequently complain about the connection, most of the officials from these exchanges are reluctant to give a feasibility report.
When the applicants enquired about the delay in sending the feasibility report they explained that a problem was being faced by this new network connection.
Interestingly, the contact numbers for registering complaints always remain in busy tone or ‘out of coverage area’. As the number of customers who complain about the ‘performance’ of WiMax increased sharply, some senior officials in the commercial office started handing over the headache to the top-level executives.
“I opted for this facility just to make my business easy and speedy. In the beginning the speed was so good but within no time it dropped to 18Kbps,” Krishnakumar said.
Krishnakumar lost two major assignments and two of his clients are readying to send legal notices as he failed to complete their projects on time. He registered an online complaint but in vain. Then he filed a written complaint to the BSNL Customer Care and when he reminded them about his email, they admitted that there was some problem with the system.
The main drawback of WiMax is the outsourcing policy adopted by the BSNL to implement this system.
“Whenever we approach the exchange for help nobody has the technical skill to advise us and there is no automatic reply for our complaints, Krishnakumar said.
On Vishu Day, the entire communication system at Maradu Exchange was damaged due to strong lightening.
It was because of the negligence of the technical department which had the WiMax fixed to the main tower of Maradu Telephone Exchange without proper earthing. The BSNL faced a loss of Rs 35 lakh.
When the senior officials asked the outsourcing agency about it, they said there was no provision for providing earthing to WiMax and said the metallic tower itself acted as the earthing.
However, ill-fated customers of WiMax still continue their marathon from pillar to post in search of a permanent remedy for their problem.
It is interesting to watch the hide and seek game being played by some BSNL staff who try to divert customers to other chairs saying that they have recently handed over the charge of WiMax.
When the hapless customers approach each of them, these officials express their inability in handling the situation.
Some senior officials confidentially admit that the unexpected failure of this newly implemented system was nothing but the mismanagement of toplevel decision makers who allotted the outsourcing right to the lowest rate quoted by unskilled agencies who lack trained staff and qualified engineers. They also suspect a hidden agenda of the government to privatise some crucial sections of this public sector.
However, the present crisis has brought down an otherwise brisk business in the internet service of the BSNL, which has launched many advanced plans including 3G with colourful offers and prompt service in each sector.