The Internet is Better On Holiday.

So much better on holiday

Several months back I was keen to get mobile data (internet) access on a prepaid mobile phone account – and discovered that this is essentially impossible in Australia.

In the UK in June I grabbed a prepaid Orange UK SIM from the supermarket, and GPRS / 3G data was enabled by default.

It continued to work when I got home to Australia.

Here in Argentina I grabbed a prepaid SIM (with a hostel address and my VIC drivers license number sufficing for the purchase identification).

Sure enough GPRS (& faster EDGE data) works out of the box, and the pricing is quite excellent too.

The ADSL we have at home here is 1024/256, for less than AU$15/mo. Economic differences make direct price comparisons difficult, but I do note that Internet access prices worldwide tend to reflect prices I’d expect in a fungible marketplace rather than the local cost structures that govern telco infrastructure. Any way you look at it, though, that’s cheap Internet.

Imagine the capital costs of providing ADSL over copper lines that have encircled this city for 100 years, traversing ancient, labyrinthine buildings, and it’s all the more impressive.

Of course, it could simply be a result of the same public policy that holds utility prices below their (rapidly rising) costs, resulting in power cuts that add plenty of ambiance to the parilla restaurants frequented by us foreigners. Which is unfortunate.

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