TelBru Upgrading their Infrastructure

It seems that TelBru will be upgrading their infrastructure from the 7th to 31st of October. There will be possible disruptions of Internet connectivity and lets all hope that this will bring a better Internet experience for all eSpeed and Zoom! users. For further information or queries contact their customer care centre at 111.

Source: TelBru – Upgrading Network and Systems for BruNet New Infastructure Project

A Tale of Telbru

Telbru recently joined the Twitter sphere (@Telbru) and I hope this is part of them getting their act together and telling the customers what’s going on. I believe anybody living in Brunei knows how much people dislike the e-Speed (and now the Zoom!) experience. Complaints of slow speeds and connectivity issues are always heard every few days it seems. Sometimes Telbru will respond and other times not, but honestly they need to be more transparent in what they are doing. The same goes for all their other services; as goes with my Speed on Demand findings, there often is no official word on what is happening.

Maybe it’s just me but having a problem and not being told what is being done really annoys me. If you tell me what is being done or even if you tell me why it can’t be done, I will be more understanding. Just say something and treat your customer right by give them information they deserve. You can tell us that you are doing nothing but only if you have valid reasons (not excuses). Reach out and communicate with your customers. As mentioned before they recently started with Twitter (@Telbru) and slightly with Facebook (Telbru 4 U). I initially thought the eSpeed forum would have been a place for Telbru to communicate with their customers but alas it is not – no updates since June 2008.

Recently people were complaining that the eSpeed Upgrade was a joke because:

  • There was no improvement for them (the typical complaints: eSpeed not working and/or slow)
  • Their line was not yet upgraded even up till now (over 2 weeks since they announced the upgrade)
  • Recently it is supposed that peer-to-peer (P2P) in the form of bittorrent has been blocked

After some probing Telbru told me that they are rolling out the upgrades to different sections at a time and people will get them in due time. This information needs to be stated somewhere online from their official source. Just advertising that they have upgraded when in fact people have still yet to get an upgrade will just lead to further discontentment among those who did not get the upgrade: leading to them complaining about eSpeed being a joke in this case.

The official word is that they are not blocking bittorrent but users are still complaining of it not being to download properly. Initially I torrented an Ubuntu 9.04 ISO a few weeks back and it seemed to have no connections so I left it overnight and in the morning it managed to finish downloading but my total upload was 0. I suspect that somewhere in the early morning they unblock torrents when the traffic is low and continue blocking it in the morning. There has to be a reason for the upload to be 0 because previously it was fine. More recently I torrented Ubuntu 10.04 and it managed to fully download via torrent and it did manage to upload, however it did take 30 minutes to actually connect to peers and start downloading.

On a related note of discontentment with Telbru, their SpeedOnDemand service (logon page available only to newer networks) which has been advertised in October last year and recently in March this year, is still not available for all users, only those on the newer network. There is still no product service page on the eSpeed website and the only information I have on SpeedOnDemand is from what I gathered from asking them questions and I have documented in my posts here and here.

It seems to be that with the upgrade advert and the SpeedOnDemand service it seems that they are trying to grab people’s attention by introducing something new hoping to get the public’s support. Which they will initially get. But once customers try it out and find out that they can’t access it, they will get more frustrated with Telbru.

Honestly Telbru I give you kudos to setting up your twitter account and actively trying to get into contact with people having issues with eSpeed but you need to do more to get the public faith back. I’m sure the public perception of Telbru from the constant eSpeed and Zoom! complaints isn’t that great. I myself didn’t have much faith in Telbru with my on eSpeed issues – traffic bottleneck causing difficulty in surfing at home with lots of timeouts despite constant connectivity and having to renew IP every day after returning from work. I am happy after switching to the new Alcatel modem from the old Huawei modem which resulted in a constant and consistent connection with the combination of the eSpeed upgrade.

In order to improve I suggest that that Telbru give press releases or official information documenting what they are doing and to stop with any of the advertising that gives false hope to or misleads customers. Let us know and be transparent of the repair works or roll out works that are currently underway or are planned and the estimated time of completion. If anybody is like me, knowing what is happening will allow me to be more tolerable of any issues rather than being kept in the dark. I suggest they continue with something like their eSpeed forum giving FAQs, possible solutions as well as updates on their works. Telbru I wish you the best and hope you do this right.

Local Bandwidth Tests

With the recent changes with eSpeed you’d like to know if you’ve been upgraded so here are 2 local bandwidth test sites that should enable you to check your bandwidth with between you and Telbru (and DST possibly)

http://202.160.12.27 (no Flash required)
http://202.160.42.10/index.html (Flash Required)

Note that these will show you local link within Brunei and just because your local link has the full bandwidth doesn’t necessarily mean that all your downloads will get the full speed of connection. To check the speed with the outside world try bandwidth testers like Speedtest.net.

eSpeed Upgrade!

It all started with Tiong Loong’s tweet that stated:

Telbru is upgrading our espeed 512kbps bandwidth >>See my test result http://www.speedtest.net/result/762446092.png #brunei
source

So when I got home from work that day I did some speed tests and was pleasantly surprised that it was true!

Bandwidth Test showing 1Mbps down, 300kbps+ up

1Mbps+ down, 300kbps+ up

And so today 1/April/2010 Telbru confirmed it (but honestly what a bad day to pick to announce it)

Plan Old Bandwidth New Upgraded Bandwidth
e-Speed Value Surf 512kbps 1Mbps
e-Speed Lite Surf 640kbps 1.5Mbps
e-Speed Super Surf 768kbps 2Mbps
e-Speed Premium Surf 1Mbps 2.5Mbps
Corporate Broadband Lite 2Mbps 3.5Mbps
Corporate Broadband Max 3.5Mbps 5Mbps

eSpeed Upgrade poster

Speed on Demand page finally loads!

I checked my router IP today and was pleasantly surprised that it has change to 118.x.x.x as show below and was surprised to see that the Speed on Demand page actually loaded!

New Router IP of 118.x.x.x

New eSpeed Router IP: 118.x.x.x

Speed on Demand login page

It finally loads!

So I can confirm that router IPs of 118.x.x.x can access the login page and I presume can use the service as well. Will try test this out in the coming days

PS. The images have been manipulated to hide my exact IP address but this is no Aprils fools prank =)

More on Telbru’s Speed on Demand service

After reading a friend’s Tweet I ran into Telbru’s promotion on their Speed on Demand service. I decided to give them a ring to find out whether it is available to all eSpeed users as based on previous findings it was only available to some.

Speed on Demand Promo : 15-31 March

Speed on Demand Promo : 15-31 March

So basically I found out that users with a modem/router WAN IP starting with 119 (IP 119.*.*.*) are actually applicable for the Speed on Demand service. They are still undergoing upgrading and maintenance work for other IP ranges and intending to migrate 61.*.*.* users to 119.*.*.*.

So finally some clarification from Telbru on this matter. And the speculation that it was for newer users on a specific network was correct. Sad that there is no official press release and that this information has to be continually dug up rather than presented by the folks over at Telbru. With the redesigned of the eSpeed website, here’s hoping to a new year with a change in how Telbru handles their public relations and information delivery.

PS: On a side note thanks to Bahrin (I hope thats the right spelling) for taking my call at the 121 hotline and giving me this much needed clarification and information. Kudos to you and you made my day by finally speaking to a courteous, competent and well informed person =)

Update (1/April/2010): Seems that IPs of 118.x.x.x also get the Speed on Demand

OMNI upgrade prices for existing E-Speed subscribers

Ever since the OMNI package was introduced I was curious to see what the upgrade pricing would be. I went to find out the cost for an upgrade to OMNI Lite from an existing E-Speed 512kbps connection and was sadly disappointed to hear that to sign up for OMNI, you would have to pay the same price as a new registration. My quest to have cheap mobile broadband was quelled at that point but recently I was asked if there was an upgrade price to OMNI from existing an E-Speed plan so I decided to take another look and was glad to find out that there was an upgrade path.

OMNI FAQ: Upgrade from Existing E-Speed Subscription

The upgrade cost is B$185 /B$235 (depending on IC)
[3G USB Modem ($100)
+ Deposit ($50 for Yellow or Red IC / $100 for Green IC)
+ Annual License Fee ($25)
+ Administration fee ($10)]

A new registration for OMNI Lite is $263 / $313 and OMNI Max is $325 / $375.

I was told that the cost is the same even if I want to upgrade to OMNI Max (1Mbps E-Speed + 7.2Mbps Zoom) from my existing 512kbps eSpeed Value Surf connection which would be a great upgrade path (saving $140)

Zoom! is a mixed bag of goodness and annoyance as mentioned in my previous findings but for $20/month on top of an existing eSpeed Value Surf subscription, I have to say that OMNI is very good value for money subscription.
(OMNI Max subscription is $22/month on top of eSpeed Premium Surf and OMNI Corporate only $12/month on top of Corporate Broadband Max)

Note: the 3G USB modem is locked to b-mobile SIM and thus cannot be used with any other SIM card. Also upon upgrade, the subscription is considered as a single entity so if you want to terminate either service (eSpeed or Zoom!) you will have to terminate both subscription and resubscribe for the service you want to keep.