From a letter home from Doha to my parents (in August 2011):
Yesterday when I came home Qtel had arrived and were putting in the new fibre optic connection into our villa. The Indians do this and I considered the difference between the Indian approach (yesterday) and the British workman approach.
In Britain only two men would turn up, know what they were doing and say “Hello sir, we are here to fix your new fibre optic cabling that will be livened up some time from mid-January 2012 onwards and the job today will take us about an hour and a half. We are sorry to disturb you. Can I hear the kettle boiling sir?”
When I got in yesterday there were four Indians in the living room and four new boxes on the wall. One of the Indians was sitting on his tool box with an electronic box connected to it and he seemed to be the technician. He announced that he had finished, disconnected his electronics box and left.
Then one of the other Indians put the cover back on one of the boxes, six tiny screws so it took a little while. The other two Indians watched. When he had finished the Indian who had been standing up watching looked over at our table and there was a coil of wire. He picked it up and alerted cover man. Cover man then unscrewed the cover and put in the coil of wire then screwed up the cover again. Then one of the guys swept the floor with a dustpan and brush. They then left.
We then went shopping for three hours and got back at about 8pm. We were just making our meal when there was a knock at the door and it was Cover Man. He came in, unscrewed the cover, adjusted a couple of things inside and left again.
I spoke with the supervisor who was Arabic and actually helpful, this was a first. At present our TV, internet and land line phone all come by an ordinary cable. We have a 2 Megabyte internet and TV connection (the TV comes via a cable internet connection).
The connection speed is rubbish, the TV channels keep disappearing (meaning we have to take the plugs out of the wall and reinsert them and wait five minutes for it to reappear). The internet connection at peak times is dreadfully slow too and can take a minute or two for a website to appear.
When the new fibre optic cables are finally livened up (from mid-January 2012 onwards we were told) we will have at least a 10 Megabyte connection (5 times faster than we have) or can opt for a 50 Megabyte or 100 Megabyte option. However, as ever in this part of the world, no one has mentioned how much this is going to cost us? No doubt there will be a substantial price hike, no option to remain with what we have, and no protests! We shall have to see what happens in January.
Post letter note: we left Doha in Qatar on 27 June 2012. We still had the lovely little boxes with the flashing lights on the wall. Did we have the new high speed broadband?
Of course not. Maybe next year then?
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