Getting internet ADSL lines in Thailand isn't very easy if you live outside of Bangkok. If you're coming to live here, bring with you a lot of patience. The services are available but costly and the customers services is usually hopeless. I am writing to tell you of some bad experiences I have had over the last year with CSLoxinfo company and their IPstar service. Maybe some other readers have also had problems with this company but for many it is the only option (ADSL by satellite when no landline service is yet available in your suburb).

Here is a list of my own experience of bad service from them.

1. April 2004: I contacted Media Magic company, the only Chiang Mai agent for installing IPstar, as it was the only option for ADSL in my suburb. They originally quoted me 20,000 baht to install which I rejected as too expensive and then they eventually lowered this to 8000 baht. I was told that this doesnít buy the equipment - it is just the installation fee and perpetual leasing of the dish and modem.

2. May 2004: techincian arrives, tells me where he wants to place it in my garden, tells ME to arrange a standing pole for mounting and the leaves. I know nothing about construction, I assume every installation requires this pole so I called them back asking if they knew of a sub-contractor for the job. The responded with a quote of 6000 baht for this simple job. I refused and eventually found a company who did it for only 1000 baht (all it was, was a 2 meter pole set in two feet of concrete&#33.

3. After installing the system, they then had to return three times in five weeks to replace Ďfaulty modemsí before it worked reliably.

4. From June until April 2005 the system worked mostly reliably, all through the rainy season, but sometimes not at the guaranteed 256k.

5. In May 2005 the system become very unstable and frequently dropped out, sometimes up to 10 times a day and occasionally for several hours, this created havoc for my design team uploading sites, and distorted my monthly download allocation (meaning I had to pay more).

6. During this time I contacted support several times, but got tired of being kept on the phone to Bangkok (at my expense) for up to an hour at time while they did diagnostics. In the end it was usually found to be their gateway that was down. Eventually I gave up on this and preferred to patiently wait for it to come back on.

7. Also during this time I kept a log of every time it failed and on most occasions called their local office and asked their staff member (khun Walaiporn) to also log the complaint.
8. At the end of May I returned their invoice unpaid with a faxed letter committing to pay once they had given me a satisfactory answer about their future reliability. Since I am to move house soon I need to decide whether to change to a competitor.

9. The complaint went unanswered and so I submitted the letter directly to their local office and demanded action. They then emailed me saying they couldnít refund me (I had never actually asked for a refund), but offered 50 free hours of dial up, with no explanation about their faulty gateway.
10. During June the system has returned to normal and is 95% reliable.

11. Since I am moving house I then asked Media Magic to come and transfer the dish to the new premises and again they quoted me 8000 baht! This is an outrageous expense for moving equipment, considering it is the same as the original setup fee (which they justified as insurance against their investment in the equipment). The job took the technician only 3 hours last time so I can calculate they are ripping us off with a rate of more than 2500 baht per hour!!

12. In the meantime my wife has discovered they are running a special offer to new subscribers for 3000 baht, so in the end we simply cancelled the old subscription and signed up for a new one to overcome the problem, but it did involve plenty of unneccessary paperwork.

13. Then yesterday I received a reminder for the outstanding June subs but the accounts department, with prefect bad timing, had screwed up and invoiced me this time for an amount of about 10,000 suggesting that I hadnít paid for the past three months (the previous reminder stated only 3000 baht).
14. To date, I still have not received any further response from CSLoxinfo despite sending them a copy of this draft.

Considering all of the above, and the fact that this service is 3000 baht a month for only 256k (twice as expensive as conventional ADSL), I really would not recommend this service to anyone. Unfortunately, for those people outside of the main city centres, it is the only option for ADSL and I think CSLoxinfo are taking advantage of this. Our business does web development and this service just isnít good enough to maintain the standards that our overseas customers demand.