Unstable broadband belies Hong Kong’s smart city goals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 4:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 11:11pm

I don’t know how many readers have shared my frustration with the internet services in Hong Kong, but I guess there are quite a few.

I have now spent many hours calling the PCCW service line, forced to listen to the Wild West music from the sixties that sounds as if it is being transmitted from Mars.

Perhaps the poor quality of waiting music is to prepare customers for the level of service to come. After numerous visits from technicians, who merely restart the equipment and check it during the daytime (when normally it works), I have become really tired of the level of service.

During evenings and at weekends, the internet drops out frequently or is just extremely slow. After renewed contact, I was informed that they can check the line coming in to the modem over a period of three to four days.

Fine, I said, will you then please tell me the result of this test. No, was the surprising answer; “this is proprietary information that PCCW never reveals to the customer”.

Well, even if it is proprietary, PCCW cannot expect keep it a secret that the measly 8Mps connection, which is the best I can buy, is just not stable. What it does show, though, is an appalling attitude.

In my summer house, in a remote spot of the Swedish west coast, I have for many years had an ADSL service which by some 100 per cent surpasses the broadband services that PCCW is able to provide in central Hong Kong, both in speed and reliability. How could this be in a city that says it is working to become a smart city?

The person from PCCW that I spoke with said that the unstable broadband may be caused by over-subscription. If so, that is the perspective of a company that does not care one bit for its customers.

Another way of expressing the problem is that PCCW is under-investing in connectivity while overselling the “services”, probably because there is no real competition. Is this what we should expect or accept in Asia’s world city and a city wanting to be labelled smart?

Ulf Ohrling, Causeway Bay