I’m on BSNL broadband right now. Its been working surprisingly well, though there are plenty of little snags here and there.
To popularize broadband, BSNL has launched a pilot program where they are giving early adopters two months free (on the lowest plan). The plans are structured slightly weirdly — there is rate limiting, as well as capacity limiting. The more expensive plans are “free for use” during the wee hours of the night (2am to 8am). The cable modem that they provide can be rented or purchased with a one time deposit.
While the pilot program is a good move, I think it has its downsides. For one, BSNL was not prepared for the response — in India, people tend to grab up any offer thats for free, even if they have _no_ clue whats being sold. The same holds for broadband. People have no idea how DSL/ADSL differs from dial up, what that modem-thinggy does, what do the rate plans mean and so on. As a result, people are signing up for broadband by the dozens. The vast majority of these will cancel the service once the free trial period is over, causing even more trouble for BSNL.
The unexpected demand has had other consequences — BSNL has run out of the DSL modems that it was supposed to install, and it had to resort to installing higher priced modems of different models. No effort has been made to inform the customers that the new modems will be priced higher.
But the worst part is customer service and tech support — there is none, essentially (I’m talking about Gwalior, the situation might be different elsewhere). Typically you have to make phone calls and run around babus and line men and operators to get your work done. If something is wrong, the best option is usually just waiting, because even if you can get hold of people, they typically can’t give you coherent information about whats happening.
Hopefully with other players like Airtel and Reliance in the market, this will change soon. Meanwhile, this should be good enough for my family here.