I spend a good amount of time online, generally from home– thanks to HomeNet. But, truth be told, it gets expensive. I run multiple websites and it can take me upwards of six hours to get a night’s worth of media files uploaded and posted… I spend enough money on Debusech cards that I could switch over to PNCC’s DSL line– but then I’d be paying the same amount for 64kbps (kilobyte per second), versus the 256kbps I get now.
In the US, I actually used cable internet because it was faster and more cost-efficient for me. I was sad to find out that this wasn’t an option in Palau. It’s not that I mind DSL– I just like having multiple options and the ability to price shop.
For those who don’t spend hours lamenting the cost and speed of the internet and pouring over charts of internet prices, let me simplify this travesty of telecom justice as best as I can…
Here in Palau, there are a few different ways to access the internet– many people do this through work, meaning they rarely pay for their usage and also that their internet speed is often pretty slow. Other people access the internet through the Palau Telecom and PNCC’s wifi services, which costs upwards of $2.50 per hour. And finally there people like me, who utilize HomeNet services for $1.25-2.50 per hour depending on the time and day of their usage. Internet speed in Palau, for the most part, maxes out at 256kbsp. In other words, a standard three-minute song that would take barely a minute to download in the United States would take the average Palau-based user anywhere from five to fifteen minutes to download.
When I first moved here, I thought Palau lacked the ability to provide high-speed internet access. But then I came across a rate sheet on PNCC’s website that said speeds higher than 320kbps were available at an additional $199.95 per 64kbps. That means that if I were to subscribe to PNCC’s DSL services on a monthly basis, I’d be paying $2959.40 on a monthly basis for internet service that cost me roughly $40 in the United States. And it would still be 25% slower than what I’d grown accustomed to in the States.
Internationally, we fair poorly in internet accessibility by cost. Japan, home to the fastest home-based internet services in the world, averages 27Â¢ per mbps (megabyte per second). The United States, where I was born and raised, averages $3.33 per mbsp. Portugal and Poland are considered especially expensive, as their internet rates are $10.99 and $13.00 per mbps respectively.
But here I am, the Native Ex-Pat come home, and I just found out that internet access in Turkmenistan is cheaper than it is in Palau. I don’t watch television, but somedays I find myself missing my Netflix subscription. And I’ve been meaning to download software updates for my laptop, but one Debusech is never quite enough. I feel like access to the rest of the world is prohibitively expensive, if you’re not willing to sacrifice efficiency– but I’m not sure what my alternatives are at this point.
I guess I could wait and see how this whole used fiber optic line pans out for us instead. Here’s hoping the internet speeds will be fast enough to keep our minds off of how the sewer smells…