Wired Broadband Speed & Reliability (Assam)

I am currently located in New Delhi and have MTNL 4Mbps unlimited connection (as that's the max they provide). I am planning to relocate to my home back in Guwahati (Assam) and get BSNL broadband. My minimum requirement is 8 Mbps or above (either FTTH or ADSL). But I am really worried about the speed & reliability of the connection over there. Internet is like "Bread & Butter" of my income, so can't really make the switch before confirming it.

Any suggestions or help would be highly appreciated.
NOTE: I can spend 5K to 6K INR per month for a reliable connection.


Just saw this post right now while coming to IBF. I am also from Assam and internet has been bread and butter of my income for around 8 years or so now. I relocated from Delhi to Guwahati about 6-7 years ago and BSNL is the only option here. I have called all major broadband networks all these years and nobody came or was interested in coming here in Assam. Only Reliance Jio 4G is planning to launch in Assam and other major 3G networks are there. So, the internet situation in Assam is not very rosy and BSNL is the only real decent option here.

But there is one rule in business from the consumer viewpoint. When there is no competition, it leads to virtual monopoly and the quality somewhat deteriorates. Same is the case with BSNL especially being a sarkari company (used the word sarkari intentionally). The broadband lines are unpredictable to say the least. The speeds are normally unreliable during daytime and are stable only at night or late night. So, I end up staying awake the whole night. During rainy season (which is nearly half of the year here in Assam), the lines become noisy and internet becomes dead many a time.

From a business viewpoint, internet is not something which you can rely on. I am a website designer and had planned on starting a small freelance sort of company with a few employees when I returned from Delhi. I have my own house and extra space for setting up office etc. I also had people looking for jobs and had almost all plans ready in mind and was about to start the company in months. I was also quite stable financially back then from my website business and so was very eager to take the extra step. But I had to give up all my plans as I soon realized that I would have to deal with dissatisfied clients and malign my trust and reputation. Internet was also a lot more expensive in those days. A 512 Kbps connection used to cost around Rs.1500 after taxes just to give you an idea. The plans were revised only once since then I suppose and a couple of new "better" plans were launched last year or so.

FTTH is hardly there in Guwahati. The BSNL have been giving me the "chunawi jumla" of FTTH lines laying in my area for the last 3-4 years. But in reality, BSNL does not even care about retaining the existing customers leave apart trying to lay any new lines and attract new customers. The BSNL lines here in Guwahati are around 10-20 years old and many roads and areas in Guwahati does not even have BSNL lines. For the last 2-3 years, the telephone and internet lines to around a dozen houses in my area got cut/disconnected due to underground water pipeline work on the road. And they tried once or twice and then just left those customers as they couldn't be bothered about rectifying the underground lines or setting up new lines. That is the commitment of BSNL towards their existing customers. There are also many good people in BSNL whom I have personally met over the years but overall the structure of BSNL here in Guwahati is like a "pure sarkari company" and the employees are hardly concerned about profit or customer satisfaction. One more thing. In order to get your work done quickly and line repaired fast (within a day if lucky and if not Sunday/govt. holiday/weekend), the lineman would need some extra "monetary gift" every time he fixes the line.

My final comments would be that BSNL is the best option here in Guwahati. If you are looking for a high speed plan, you can check something like the BBG Combo ULD 6300 plan which would perhaps cost you around 7200 after service tax (14% service tax with each plan as revised in the budget a couple of days ago). Or you can check some other plan which fits in your budget. The upload speed in almost all ADSL plans are hardly around 0.5 Mbps. I have not yet seen or tested an FTTH plan here in Guwahati and so, cannot comment. And please tell your family members here to ask the BSNL officers if the plan of your choice is available in your area. And get the connection and test the "actual" speeds and line quality before returning and setting up base if possible.

There are times when BSNL just refuses to give new connections. One of my cousins was refused a BSNL connection and told him that they would not be able to provide him a connection in his area as lines were too bad in his road. And he was informed this 2-3 months after he paid the advance monthly rental and applied for the connection (He was refunded the advance money later though it took some time). He also told me that one of the persons asked some "gift" for giving him the connection as they would need to pull his line from a distribution box around 50 meters away from his house. I cannot about the authenticity of his claim from my own though. Even my own line is pulled from a distribution box around 50 meters or so away even though I have a distribution box right in front of my house. But that DB box is faulty as they say and they "never" tried to fix it in all these years though I have requested them probably hundreds of times. I also keep on requesting them to lay new lines as they say the existing lines in our area is bad due to which they are noisy during bad weather and rainy seaons. But they are not bothered and so, I have just learned to adjust and not bother them anymore.

At least, there is 3G now and hopefully 4G in a year or two for backup which was not there when I returned to Assam from Delhi around 6-7 years back. I am also not sure how this Reliance Jio 4G thing is panning out though. These Reliance Jio guys have visited my house for nearly 2-3 years now asking for space on my terrace to lay their towers. I have refused every time as my dad is not interested and I also worried a bit about the radiation hazard and possible earthquake damage due to the tower. Every time they keep on saying that Jio is launching in a few months but those few months never arrive. The reliance 4G lines were laid probably 2 year ago here in Guwahati but that is all that anybody has seen or heard of Jio. No news is there of when it would be actually launched.

I have tried to inform all pros and cons of the internet situation in Guwahati. There are more cons as compared to pros as you might have realized especially for people for whom internet is "bread and butter". The biggest advantage of course is that you would probably have your own house and do not need to spend much money on rent. The second biggest advantage is that it is easier and cheaper to get employees/workforce here in Assam as the number of employment opportunities are lesser here. Even companies like Aircel etc. pay a meager Rs.4000-Rs.4500 for freshers whereas they probably pay double of that in Delhi. So, that is an advantage though I would always advise giving justified salaries whenever possible. Internet reliability and BSNL commitment is the biggest con though you gradually learn to accept it as a reality in the long run. Try to diversify your "sources" of income and do not only depend on the internet if you are to survive in Guwahati. If you are into any "online services" such as websites, SEO, social media etc. or anything related to websites, it is anyways better to reduce your complete reliance on them especially with the recent unpredictable Google algo changes.

NOTE: For the sake of fairness, I am editing this post again and wanted to add that they are more "unreliable" than "bad". There are also times when BSNL lines work without any problem for several months. And you learn to "adjust" your "expectations" from BSNL after staying in Guwahati for sometime. My $0.02
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Computer Addict
I got banned!
Unless you are in a metro or a Class A town it is hard to find a good 6 Mbps connection. There is of course an option of using a leased line, but I am not sure of it costs.