Internet in Phuket
Internet access in Phuket has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years and is now fairly fast, reliable and reasonably-priced. The various options available in Phuket can be summarised as follows:
- Fiber Optic
- Cable Broadband
- Leased Line
- 3G, EDGE and GPRS
To be able to use ADSL, you must be in an area that has ADSL coverage. You also need to sign up with an ISP which offers ADSL and buy or rent an ADSL modem. Connection speeds vary from 256kbps to 12Mbps downstream.
You tend to get what you pay for, so a 10Mbps ADSL connection which costs 1,000 Baht with one ISP, might work out the same or slower than a 256kbps connection that costs about the same. This can be due to a number of factors, though contention ratios are probably the most significant. Contention ratios is the ratio of the number of users who are on the same line and share the available network bandwidth. So if you have a high contention ratio you could end up with a very slow connection, if a lot of users are online at the same time.
Offered by TOT and True in many parts of the island, Fibre Optic promises speeds of up to 100Mps although this is probably a little optimistic.
A few of the local cable TV operators also provide internet access on their coaxial network.
This is normally only a viable option for businesses as it is rather expensive and unnecessary for home users. The advantages of a leased line are that you don’t share your connection with anyone else and therefore get a guaranteed bandwidth. You also get a static IP (Internet Protocol) Address, which is necessary if you want to host your own server. Most of the major ISPs offer leased lines, though as with ADSL, location may be a limiting factor in availability.
3G, EDGE and GPRS
If you live in an area where its difficult to get a telephone line you might want to consider using a mobile phone or USB dongle (occasionally referred to as an “aircard”) with a SIM card to connect to the internet. With the arrival of 3G in Phuket, speeds of up to 6Mps are obtainable although factors such as signal strength also come into play. Both pre-paid and monthly subscriptions are available.
This is available in a few different flavours such as TOT’s Airmax or WiNet, which provides a WiFi signal over a wide area, or in the form of hotspots dotted around the island provided by TOT or 3BB. Access to the hotspots can be obtained by purchasing pre-paid cards from 7-Eleven.
The main advantage of satellite broadband is that because you connect via satellite you are not limited by geographical constraints. Satellite Internet would only be worth considering if you live in an area without wired Internet access (ADSL, Fibre Optic etc.) and no 3G signal. The downside is that its not cheap, relatively slow and can be unreliable.
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