Consumers are overpaying GTT for internet service

Dear Editor,

Going beyond the initial novelty of providing entertainment, the internet has evolved into a necessity for news, research, communication, ecommerce and work. The disruption or degrading of internet services can affect people greatly.

GTT is Guyana’s broadband provider, the only choice, a monopoly. I think it would not be a stretch to say that GTT imposes the most expensive prices for the slowest internet in the world. A recent report on internet speeds around the world shows Singapore at the top of the list of fastest broadband services across the globe. Prices for unlimited data at 100 Mbps and 300 Mbps can be found for US$30 a month.  In Guyana, GTT provides the Bronze monthly plan for $6,000.00 which is roughly equivalent to US$30. With the Bronze plan you have a maximum theoretical download speed of 1.5Mbps. Let that sink in for a minute; we who are living on third world salaries are paying the same price for the internet running at 1% the speed of other nations. If we calculate the dollars per megabit, at most conservative estimates we are paying around 66 times the rate of someone living in Singapore.

In spite of this incredible overpricing, the DSL internet is a massively underperforming service.

Recently from personal experience and that of my fellow Berbicians, the internet has been plagued with failures and much lower speeds than are being paid for. The internet is responsive in the morning and slow in the afternoon or vice-versa.  From my experience in the IT field, much of this seems systemic; just as GPL used to schedule blackouts because it could not handle the load, GTT may be implementing some sort of time slicing to accommodate its customer load. Another tactic they could be using is putting customers in a pool of limited bandwidth, where in order for you to have responsive internet service, your neighbours must be off the service.

GTT is charging customers for a service it is not providing. I have not reached the 1.5 Mbps rate which I am paying for in over a month. For the layperson, if this seems hard to understand, imagine bandwidth (internet speed) as water pressure in the mains. Now GTT is latching on so many people using the same main find that the pressure is greatly reduced causing the water supply to be reduced to a trickle.

GTT is getting away with this because this is a technical subject and most people are not aware of the definition of a megabit, much less how to do a speed test on an internet connection. In cases like these, consumer bodies need to hold GTT accountable for delivering what people are shelling out their hard-earned money for.

We the consumers are overpaying for this service and GTT should have the funds available to invest in the required infrastructure and not rely on the consumer’s lack of choice and expertise as their business model.

My first action to protest this abuse was to downgrade my $11,400 Business Bronze package. My next step will be ending my usage of GTT DSL internet.

Yours faithfully,

(Name and address provided)

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