The Media Guru
Jan 28, 2008



Everyone complains of high prices and the low quality of service they get… & how we are still stuck with lower-than-world-average speeds - 128K, 256K & 512K.

The most basic unlimited offer, i.e. Wanadoo ADSL 128Kbps, starts at Rs. 750. This connection is supposed to be reliable 24/24 7/7… meaning you should be getting a permanent 128kbps connection.
The other popular offer is the My.T 256Kbps, which is also unlimited & the price is still Rs. 750. But the big difference is that My.T is a Quality of Service offer which does not guarantee maximum speeds at peak hours.
(I’m not considering any other ISPs, because MT has a monopoly over Internet)

During the past few months, I’ve seen an acute deterioration of my internet speed at specific hours. At first I thought that it was something to do with the server from which I’m downloading… but very soon I had to admit it was the connection that was faulty. No matter what server I downloaded from, no matter how many threads/parallel connections I used with download managers, the result was always the same - I’m getting speeds between 4 to 9KB/s. The average speed of a 128K connection is between 11 to 16KB/s. So I’m getting half the speed I’m paying for.

The peak hours are on weekdays between 15.00 to 18.00 & during past two week-ends from 13.00 to 18.00. (This week-end, speed was great - that's my top speed above) These are exactly the times when most users are on the Internet. One more thing I’ve noticed is that the speed gets back to normal at the very instant when the clock ticks 18.00… probably when the businesses shut down?

This chart shows the level of priority to Internet access. Though I have not included it, the topmost rung consists of ISPs & VOIP companies that purchase bandwidth directly from MT on SAFE. & we common Internet users are found at the very bottom. At peaks, it’s only after all these businesses get their reserved bandwidth that we, common unimportant mortals, get a piece of the cake… Half the speed we are paying for… We are only cash-cows and are certainly not entitled to a decent speed.

A look at the top speed found in Mauritius… where are the 1Mbps & 512Kbps connections? Actually, the top speed of a 512K is 320Kbps… Why?

The SAFE cable has a capacity of around 130Gbit/s. Considering that the bandwidth is shared between South Africa, Reunion & Mauritius & half of it for international traffic, Mauritius has around 10 to 20 Gbps bandwidth. After removing all those dedicated access & companies that purchase their own bandwidth, this translates into around 5 Gbps of bandwidth for the people, i.e 5,000Mbps = 5,000 1Mbps connection = 50,000 512Kbps connections!!!
& considering that we have around 300,000 Internet users & 22,000 broadband subscribers, the conclusion is simple - we are running out of bandwidth.

This explains just about everything.
We are getting low speeds at the peak hours, because the network is at its limit, & that’s what had happened during the past two week-ends when everyone accessed the Internet at the same time.
Why are prices extremely high? The sales price of a 128K connection is around Rs. 500 & that of 512K around Rs. 900…
Why is MT so aggresively promoting My.T & NetPC, offers with network-dependent speeds? Why is the price of ADSL 128K the same as My.T 256K while My.T offers thrice more services?
The truth is… to discourage people from subscribing to broadband connections. MT knows that the network has reached its almost full capacity.

Eassy, the solution?
Eassy - the problem with Eassy is that it will be shared by a large number of countries & so Mauritius won’t have any significant gain in speed. If you were thinking that with Eassy, you’d be getting a 1Mbps connection at Rs. 500, dream on… that’s still decades away.

Africa & the Indian Ocean is the world’s poorest region in terms of fibre connectivity. No wonder Africa is always behind. What we need is more fibre-optic links. But the problem is that there’s always more talk than action… no one really wants to invest.
UCL is considering investing into an island-wide Fibre-To-Home network in Mauritius… but who would want a FTTH connection that gives you a 128Kbps international speed?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_in_Mauritius
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eassy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAFE_%28cable_system%29
http://www.internetworldstats.com/africa.htm
The Mauritian Dream
Bilan of Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Mauritius

Update: Map of all Fibre-Optic links in the world


Update: According to Le Matinal, the Indian Ocean Commission (ICO) is organising meetings to discuss the possibility to invest into a SAFE-like Fibre Optic Cable that will link all Indian Ocean islands to the rest of the world.
My advice: Just do it!

Update 2: Akamai caching websites in Mauritius...


(2010) Update 3:

Sorry, but this whole article is rubbish. Really. At the time this was posted, I had a very crude knowledge of how the network was built. So actually I was very much wrong. Although SAFE has reached its limit, the problem is with the old local infrastructure. It can't handle peaks. With the arrival of Eassy (1Mbps at Rs 1000), it has slightly improved but you do still notice slowdowns. However, gradually, users are being migrated to FTTC. Until all users are on the FTTC network, these slowdowns will continue, no matter how many fibre optic cables are connected to Mauritius...

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InF said...

Impressive post you have here! And the best thing is that it's absolutely true.

So, I think I'll follow your lead and post another Internet-related article soon. Thanks for the link-back btw!

InF said...

Sorry for my double-commenting, but I forgot something.. :)

[...]the speed gets back to normal at the very instant when the clock ticks 18.00

[...]we are running out of bandwidth.

I strongly believe that the Mauritian broadband is being traffic-shaped to allow businesses and other "big connections" to have a better speed during the day, to the detriment of home users.

During the day, businesses are running full speed and soak up most of our bandwidth. That's why home speeds are crappy during the day. And the excuses you always get? "We can't guarantee international bandwidth" and "Your pc is infected with a spyware/virus/malware", which is usually followed by "Your line has faults" or "Download a file from a local server - ncb - and see"

Who cares about local servers! There is nothing worthwhile on them!

carrotmadman6 said...

Thx for the comment.

It's true that MT gives priority to businesses during the day, that's why the speed sucks.

But ultimately, the truth is we are really close to running out of bandwidth... :|

Anonymous said...

Nice post carrot. I can't imagine working with download speed of 8.0 kb-16.0 kb. I get around 100 kb/sec download speed and still complain.

Btw, there is something about your blog that makes the fan of my laptop go whirrr like crazy.

carrotmadman6 said...

100KB/s wow!
:P

I think the problem is with the PayPerPost tracking code... i also get popup problems with it.
:|

Anonymous said...

Nahh..i use MyT and am quite satisfy with its downloading speed..i use a 256 kb/s package and it downloads at around 30 kb/s....am ok till nw

AMJ said...

A really nice post. well detailed. keep it up man.

carrotmadman6 said...

Thanks. :P

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!

If what you say about Eassy is true then I think, Mauritius should forget about partnering with African countries (as far as internet connectivity is concerned I mean) and lay its own submarine cable. After all, the cost of Eassy is about Rs10 billion ie about the same as the cost of the circular road around Port-Louis. A cable serving only Mauritius would probably be significanlty cheaper. If we can afford a circular road around PL to avoid traffic jam on the highway, then we can afford our own dedicated submarine cable to avoid traffic jam on the internet. This is the price to pay to truly become a "cyberisland". With all the cash the GM is raking from the IRS thingy, we can probably afford it.

We could eventually halve the cost by cooperating with France and share the bandwith with RĂ©union. In the end, the cost would probably be around Rs3billion ie the price of about 3 hotels... no big deal...

Mauritians are very good at talking; but we should talk less and take some bold move to make things happen. If we keep on talking and do nothing, the whole world will keep on laughing at us.

carrotmadman6 said...

Thanks for the comment.

We should never put all our eggs in one basket (Eassy & SAFE).
As it has been recently demonstrated in the Mid-East, cable shortages can paralyse a whole economy.

Yes, we would need our own fibre cables. There are many companies that are willing to invest into such projects & are only waiting from a hint from the government.

& yes, any cable that will be laid should connect all Indian Ocean islands.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to read that several companies are willing to invest in a submarine cable. It would probably be better if it could be handled by the private sector. What exactly are they expecting from the GM? What is the GM waiting for?

Is UCL (United Communications Limited) among these companies. I am very puzzled by their project of digging up all the streets of Mauritius to implement FTTH (Fiber To The Home). The last mile is definately not the problem. (A copper pair can sustain 20Mb which is more than enough; we are presently using only a tiny fraction of the maximum capacity of a copper pair...). The issue is the link between Mauritius and the rest of the world. Digging up the streets of Mauritius would only make sense if part of a much much larger project involving a high bandwidth submarine cable linking Mauritius to say India.

carrotmadman6 said...

Yeah, these are mostly Indian companies that have expressed their interest in implementing fibre optic links in the Indian Ocean.

Actually, with the Indian Ocean being the world's poorest region in fibre, all fibre companies have an interest in such a project.
I think what makes them hesitate is the lack of demand for such links. Africa is still highly under-developed & they are still weighing the pros & cons...

It would be highly unprofitable if they invest into a cable that connects only a few countries. But if the GM decides to tender a project like connecting India & Mauritius (since it's the shortest), they will definitely be spurred into action.

UCL will be using Mauritius as test-case before moving on to other countries. & it hopes to cash on making the first countrywide FTTH connection in the world.
& if they will be implementing FTTH, the fibre links will follow soon enough (hopefully). :)

Pramodh kumar Ramsurrun said...

Hey that's a very good post, good work.

I'm a subscriber of Myt for the past year and till now no complains at all, but for the past couple of days my speeds have drastically slowed down,even locally i experienced a slight change in the speed.and I dont know what might be the real problem till now.

here's my experience abt Myt till now:

1.This is what I did: First I did all the routine restarts,checking my pc, checked the cables etc, (basic testings) But nothing.

2.Then I checked Myt site,its a crap site, badly designed (according to me),didnt find anything there, so i mailed Myt on contact@myt.mu.And I was thinking that they would contact or reply me within 24 Hrs.
But nothing....

Then I called 8585 and there a sweet voice that doesnt know any technical stuff greeted me and told me that everything is normal.And all depends on the site am openning. still couldnt say anything to that sweet voice as she had all the points to defend herself.

For 3-4 days I mailed Myt at contact@myt.mu, I must have sent 5 mails.In the end someone called me as me I was thinking of disconnection or sent a copy of my mail to people of higher status in Mauritius Telecom but then the phone rang and guess what???

The women(customer care)was telling me that she checked and said that there are problems with international servers, so I said calmly ok, it might be happening and by when the problem could be resolved and she said that they dont know and they are not responsible for international servers.She also said that many users of myt also complained abt the same problem and would let me know when something comes up which i doubt she will do.Somehow i felt that MT people take people who used broadband connection with low "IQS".I dont think all the servers will have problem hehehheheheh I cant explain more...

Anyways that's my experience till now, I will wait for 1 week and see if the situation improves or else I will go in person to MT and tell my problem in person and see if they telling the truth or lies.Its said that the easiest way to lie to someone is over the phone as we cant see the person.

if other people are having the same problems with Myt or other
internet connection, speak out and make your voice heard on blogs etccc

anyways nice post buddy ,keep it up.

carrotmadman6 said...

Yes, i'm also experiencing Internet slowness since a few days.

It seems that the network is back to being constantly jammed.

& My.T users ALWAYS complain of problems. (except drag0n5_n who commented above - that was a first).

You might want to check this blog:
http://tushal.wordpress.com/
Tushal has been waging a war against My.T...
:P

Unknown said...

Hi, This is Kedar S from India. can you provide some insights about online shopping in Mauritius. I am interested in starting a eCom venture in Mauritius. Can you plz connect me at kedarsatam@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Forget it Kedar...Its a waste of time

Anonymous said...

Considering that Mauritius is promoting its knowledge economy, these internet speeds are laughable and are seriously crippling its economic development.

I'm not entirely convinced that the bottleneck is the submarine cable. I previously lived in the Canary Islands on the West coast of Africa and got speeds of 4Mbps, which at the time I thought was very low, relative to speeds in the rest of the developed world.

I imagine the problem is more down to the telco infrastructure, ignorance and desire to sell bandwidth at top dollar.

Certainly seems like it needs some political will to bang some heads together at the telcos. However from what i hear about the "cosy way things are run" in Mauritus, that isn't going to happen.

Anonymous said...

I noticed an increase in speed at 1800hrs when i complained at telicom they said that the 512kbs speed is max not average when i did a speed test all i got is 120kbs if im lucky spme time lower.
and the price is far to exp for what we are getting.
when is these fiber cables comming will they make any difrence.
I came from uk and i started on a conection speed of 128kbs was doing my head in, and i was paying the same as i was in uk for 10x more.

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