10 Things to watch out for when...Getting connected to broadband
By Kym Leo
Necessity: The first thing is to check whether you really need a broadband connection. Currently you can get one from PCCW or from other service providers. Broadband is a collective new technology that increases the rate a user can send and receive data, and thus make the Internet and other online activities like video conferencing much easier and faster to use.
Plans: Service charges vary widely between HK$200 and HK$400 a month. Some providers charge a flat rate for unlimited access, others charge according to the number of hours used. Cheaper does not always mean the better - look out for extra service charges and time restrictions.
Contracts: Some service providers try to bind users by requiring them to sign a term contract for say, six months or one year. As there are still many service providers out there who do not require you do that, you still have choices.
Methods of payments: Check out the restrictions on mode of payment by some service providers. Some insist payment can be made only through a savings account and not by credit card. Also, some service providers require a one-, or even six-month deposit.
Location: While most service providers have a wide network coverage, some areas in Hong Kong are not covered.
Installation fees: Most service providers charge between HK$300 and HK$600 for installation. However, there are also some good deals out there that come with free installation.
Ethernet card: An Ethernet card and Internet access software are necessary in order to access broadband. Most of the newer computers already come with an Ethernet card. Installing an Ethernet card is easy and costs about HK$50.
Gifts: To compete for more customers, service providers are flooding the market with free gifts such as digital cameras, mobile phones and free usage for three months. However, more emphasis should be placed on the service quality of the providers, the prices and the access speed.
Speed: For a shared bandwidth which some of providers use, speed is dependent on the flow of traffic - a heavier flow will slow down the speed of access. Consult friends and colleagues who have already installed a broadband service and benefit from their experience.
Checks: After an employee of the service provider has completed the installation, check to make sure you are able to go online without any problems before he leaves.