Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Welcome to Two-Oh-Oh-Six

I trust the start of the new year finds you in good shape and looking forward to a bright year ahead.

I normally do an Asia trip once a year and this year I took this a bit early - in January-February rather than the usual February-March. As I travelled through Australia and on towards Hong Kong, I did the usual Wi-Fi scan at each stop to see what was out there. Needless to say, I picked up numerous networks, some secured tight and some not-so-secured tight ;-)

In the city area (and Sydney in particular) I found a lack of pre-paid wireless access. I can get pre-paid dial-up access from Optus and Telstra (and others), but no one seemed to offer pre-paid Wi-Fi access (at least there were no obvious ones). I could get Wi-Fi at "hotspots" around coffee shops, and hotels etc. but Optus for instance has a CBD Wi-Fi network but only available as a post-pay contract package, which is a shame.

Hong Kong was similar except there were a heck of a lot more networks available.....with pre-pay access usually in partnership with "global" providers like Boingo, etc. But this is not what I want - I do not want to sign up with a "global" provider (because they usually come at a "global" premium price). I want to be able to sign up for a short period of time with "realistic" rates (as opposed to classic tourist rates), like one can do with pre-paid dial-up in most places (including Fiji now). Actually Hong Kong was a bit disappointing compared to my last visit where I got 24hr Wi-Fi Access for HKD50.00 (about USD 7) but this seemed to have disappeared in lieu of other packages......I must admit I did not spend much time in Hong Kong doing this and will do a bit more investigating when I pass through again in a couple of weeks.

What I can't complain about though is internet access in Delhi, India. RS 450 (about USD 10) for 64k unlimited delivered over DSL, which is actually running more like 128k :-)

I must now go thaw out my fingers........cheers from a freezing North India!