Monday, July 19, 2004

My Daily Internet Fix

My Daily Internet Fix

These days, cafes with wireless Internet have become my office. As I'm on the road most of the time, I do a lot of my e-mail and work from these hotspots. Unfortunately wireless access in Jakarta and Bangkok is so expensive compared to KL.

The other day I was enquiring about the wireless access at Starbucks opposite Sarinah--they were selling prepaid access at 44,000 rupiah for one hour--that's around 20 ringgit! MacDonalds at Sarinah was offering free access for a while during the promotional period but now they are charging 50,000 rupiah for 2 hours of access. The rates in Bangkok are about the same.

Compare that with KL where Starbucks patrons get free wireless access from Time's Zone; Maxis Utopia charges only 5 ringgit for 1 whole day of access and Airzed subscribers pay only 29.99 ringgit for 1 month of unlimited access. (Compare all that with the average rate for Wifi access in US: 3.75 dollars per hour)

My hotel in Jakarta charges me a relatively cheap rate of 77,000 rupiah for a whole day of use. As a long-staying guest, I also get a 50% discount, which makes it quite a good deal. In general it is still difficult to get a midrange hotel with in-room broadband Internet access in Jakarta.

I think Malaysian surfers are very lucky indeed. Even our much-criticized Streamyx ADSL service is still extremely cheap compared to what PT Telkom here offers.

In Indonesia, the cheapest place to get Internet access are the humble Warnets (Warung Internet) which you can find almost anywhere across the country. Sometimes these are dinghy ramshackle places filled with loitering youths playing video games, but you can always rely on them to get your daily Internet fix.

When I was on the road in Yogjakarta, Solo and Semarang, I logged on everyday from these warnets, and didn't miss a single day of blogging. These days, my blogging is so intermittent due to my heavy work commitments. It'll be interesting to see how I fare the next couple of days, when I'm on the move again...

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