I have been a subscriber of Tata Indicomís (TI) broadband service for more than a year.

Browsing on TIís connection means bracing for a string of disconnections and lousy customer service. It is a constant test of your patience. TIís service has the following highlights:

False Promises:
TI promised me a 512 Kbps connection, but I never get speeds above 450 kbps (90%).

Frequent Disconnections:
They installed a dedicated cables to my site, and this is the biggest drawback. The cable is flimsy and always breaks. Getting a disconnection repaired is a major headache requiring many phone calls. And disconnection is quite frequent - from many times in a day to atleast once a day. There has not been a single day so far when I could browse without the line dropping.

Customer Service (or Lack thereof)
Previously, reporting a problem used to be a straight affair. You called up the local office and tell them. They knew who you are and where you are, so the call took less than 45 sec.
But all that changed, once some penny pinching financial executive in the company discovered the synergy between the call centers Tata has and the customer service requirements of all Tata businesses. So now, you call up someone in the call center (usual waiting time 1 min, during which you have to put up with their TV ad jingle, or sometimes a message that the íícall is being recorded for training purposesíí), then a service representative answers, you have to provide all identification like username, theyíll take about a minute to verify the address and the person in whose name the connection is registered. Then you describe the problem, and again wait as they give you troubleshooting instructions as if you are a first time caller, after you tell them that all those have been tried out, they confirm your phone number and give you a complaint registration number. The entire exercise takes about 5 mins atleast, and if you try to speed up the call by telling all information before it is asked, you risk confusing the person at the other end and end up with an even longer call. And recently, they rub it in even further by asking you if you have heard about their dial up services.
I had put down all these issues in an email to their customer service department, and did not even get an acknowledgement.

Cutting Corners
Not happy with the cost cutting with the call center routine, one fine day, two months back, I received a sweet note (along with the bill) from the the head of Customer service stating that hard copy of the bills will no longer be sent, instead emails will be sent to the Tata Indicom provided email address. Apparently, they were of the belief that receiving a hard copy of the bill at their home is somehow inconvenient to the customer. The sweet note was laced with similar sarcastic observations.
Now, it would be understandable if such a letter came from the penny pincher in the finance department, but, really, is the head of customer service to be thinking about ways to cut costs? Isnít she (yes, itís a she) in the wrong department? And doesnít that explain the pathetic customer service?
So who changes email address everytime the ISP is changed? And anyone who has been to the Tata email portal will tell you that it is way too flash enriched and broadband optimised. An average page has alteast two flash ads, and there is no way you can turn off their loading. The interface has flash buttons et al. And yes, Tata benefits everytime you check email at their portal since the meter is ticking. And the average email check will cost you about 500 KB in data transfer! No doubt they want to send bills to their email address only!

No one would expect this sort of street smart behaviour from a TATA organisation - Reliance, ICICI etc maybe, but never a TATA. But I guess things have changed.
So why am I still a customer? Redundancy, my friend. It is the backup line, that never fails to fail.