Internet is one of the vital tools for any modern employee at most of the jobs in many countries, therefore high speed Internet connection is something we take for granted. This is not the case for Myanmar.
Being the only representative of a European company in Yangon, I don’t have and actually don’t need my own office but just a work space with decent Internet connection. Since my arrival six months ago I have tried different options searching for a place with reasonable Internet.
Using Wi-Fi in cafés and hotels
During my first days I worked from cafés and hotels lounge bars most of the time. In most of them you can get relatively fast speed Internet however you have to buy at least a drink. For example in Traders Hotel you need to buy something every hour to get access code. It also happened that my usual café was completely full with people using Wi-Fi. On those days it was almost impossible to open even email. This really needed a solution, so I decided to get internet at home.
Home-office: first attempt
The internet we got was supposed to be best they had at the local Internet office. They guaranteed it was an ADSL dedicated line, a much better option than the satellite provider. Once at home, I’ve noticed it was not as fast as promised; it was real slow. I could use my Gmail only in the basic html mode. Only early in the morning the Internet was fast enough to not only check my emails but even watch videos on YouTube! After an investigation, it appeared that the Internet line, which was supposed to be a private, was shared with other clients. What a rip off!
For a few weeks I would wake up at 6 am to work until 9 or 10 am while Internet was fast, but this couldn’t go on for longer. I was not only getting tired but also couldn’t catch up with colleagues back in Europe due to a time difference – when my Internet was already super slow they would only wake up.
It was enough and I started to look for shared offices. I found The Hub co-working space located around the corner; Internet speed seemed to be reasonable and there were not too many people. Unfortunately for me, the place became too popular among newly arrived expats and Internet got slow. Once again I had to search further.
The next attempted was a serviced office SERV-SMART, which also offered a shared desk solution. The Internet was fine and I liked the serviced office concept: managed reception, printing facilities and meeting room are available during working hours. After a while the office was getting busy with new tenants which slowed down the Internet. Well, I decided to leave.
Home-office: second attempt
The last resort solution was improving the home Internet, so I decided to get satellite Internet Red-Link, the strongest after fiber optic option on the market. As I often need to transfer heavy documents to the headquarters of my company this is the best solution. Of course, I need to be careful when transferring and streaming too often: since the Internet quota is limited, you can end up paying a pricy bill when exceeding your data allowance! But at least I can transfer all documents, have a decent Skype connection and event stream videos!
My quest for Internet was rather long but at least with a happy end. I am very curious for what will come after the launch of Ooredoo and Telenor this summer! Everyone has very high hopes that these companies will improve not only mobile networks but also Internet connections.