Friday, December 02, 2005

Personal Broadband

Rational Technology for December 4, 2005

Having worked for two IT multinationals over a span of ten years, I had been spoiled rotten with the company broadband Internet. There's nothing quite like having an always-on Internet connection with web pages loading up within the time frame of your attention span. It gives you a feeling of empowerment and of, well, connectedness.

In hindsight, I think that was why I stayed on in IT longer than I thought I would: because of the broadband. When it finally came for me to withdraw from that life, though, it was fortuitous that personal broadband packages had already become quite common and affordable. And thank goodness it rolled out in Dumaguete this year, otherwise I would really have gone antsy.

So what's the big deal with having a personal broadband connection? Is it just a matter of having the pages load up quickly? To a large extent it is, though that's not the only reason. While you might be saving money with dial-up Internet, ultimately you're saving yourself time. You can be done checking your mail in five minutes instead of waiting for five minutes for the first message to load up.

File exchange is another thing. These days, aside from business documents, we normally send photos to friends and family. A typical photo would be close to a megabyte, something that a dial-up connection would choke on. More so then with presentation files and other documents that normally bloat up to five megabytes or more.

It's not just that, however. One of the biggest incentives for a personal broadband connection is the advent of new Voice-over-IP technologies. Imagine being able to call friends and business associates worldwide with no long distance charges! For people like my mother, who has forever been resisting the email, this is the application that's finally prompting the move to the Internet.

The biggest splash in this arena, thus far, has been Skype with its excellent sound quality. Since this is such a hot growth area, other companies are coming up with new offerings or repackaging their old ones. These are Gizmo, Googletalk, and Yahoo Messenger.

On the entertainment side, one of my recently rediscovered pleasures enabled by broadband is Internet radio. If, like me, you're not too happy with the programs of local radio, you can now turn to the Internet for your music. Radio Locator lists hundreds of radio stations that broadcast over the Internet and which you can listen to on your computer. My personal favorite, though, is Sky FM with its good selection of channels, including a jazz station that's up to my tastes.

Broadband also opens up a whole new world of games. I'm not just talking about the popular games like Ragnarok, Gunbound, or TS Online, but free, simple, and short online games that you can play to take away your stress. Free Online Games has a huge selection that covers several genres. You might never need to spend for bootleg games anymore.

Just to round it all off, because I'm a comics fan, there's free comics from The Web Comic List.

What are your broadband options in Dumaguete? I've been a Globelines Broadband user for some months now and I've been fairly happy with the service. Don't go for their 30-hour package because that's simply far too limited and can get pretty expensive once you exceed the allocation. Instead, try to get their P995 unlimited promo, if it's still available.

Smart also has their "WiFi" service for under P1000. It's not nearly as fast as DSL but it is faster than dial-up. Pretty soon, Bayantel is also supposed to offer their service as well.

Broadband is becoming quite affordable in Dumaguete, and with new applications coming out, both for business and for entertainment, there's never been a better time to get on board.


  1. oh I didn't know about the other multinational.

  2. Digital Equipment Corporation, makers of the fine Alpha chip. Snigger.