As long term readers of this blog may well remember, when we first moved to Astana, six and a bit years ago, dial up internet access (as in 50kbit connections at best, dropped lines, blocking voice calls) was the only viable way to connect – ADSL was theoretically feasible in some areas of the city, but it was priced for businesses. Even if I could have justified the minimum monthly cost (believe me, I did try), the data allowance was something ridiculous (perhaps 200 megabytes?), before the one and only ISP in existence would start charging you £1.50 per 10 megabytes over the limit!
Eventually, the installation cost, the feasibility (our blocks of flats are served by a VISP (Virtual ISP) another target of my ire for many months), the monthly charge (finally targeted at residential customers), the monthly allowance (I think we started off with 5 or 10Gb) and most importantly, the action taken after the limit was reached (speed throttling vs. extra charges) all came into place, and we had what was called broadband. Unfortunately, it was 256kbit/sec (that is 32 kilobytes per second btw), don’t get me wrong, I was over the moon to be off dial up, but the slow speed combined with random downtimes.
Moving on to the present day, I decided to run a couple of broadband speed tests this evening, to confirm my estimates before writing this post. See below for one result, and with a couple of others reporting a download speed of 6.98Mbit/sec, an upload speed of 0.75Mbit/sec and a 50ms ping, I’m happy.
Now that our monthly limit is 80Gb, I’m definitely a lot happier – originally it was 5 or 10Gb, which went down to 32 or 64kbit/sec after you breached the limit. I’m not actually sure what the new throttled speed is, mainly due to the fact that only downloads and uploads between 2pm and 11pm are counted. Whilst I do browse the internet during these hours, I try to leave utorrent’s scheduler turned on, meaning that any Linux distros, freeware applications and CC-licensed media that I download (I’ve heard rumours BitTorrent is used by some for other more naughty purposes !?!) is paused until the downloads won’t count towards my total. As the end of the month approaches, I tend to turn the scheduler off and just let everything run 24/7, but as far as I can tell, I’ve not yet hit my monthly limit in since we returned to Kazakhstan and switched packages. Would I like ADSL+/ADSL2 type speeds sometime? Of course, but in such a short time, to go from dual channel ISDN-like speeds to just under 8Mbit, and from a couple of DVDs worth to practically limitless, means that I need to be positive and, for once at least, sincerely sing the praises of the infrastructure over here!