Learning Uruguay

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Archive for July 18th, 2007


Posted by urufish on July 18, 2007


I have used internet in Uruguay since the first year it became available. 

The first provider was of course, Antel.  The first method was dialup.  They issued a 900 number that works country wide.  One minute Uruguay had no internet and the next minute, the whole country had it.  There is no user name or password required.  You just program the number into your modem and you are connected at somewhere between 28.8 and 56kb, depending on your modem and quality of the connection.  This service is still available and is used by a large number of Uruguayans, occasional users.  You can get all the details about it at http://www.anteldata.com.uy/.  Click on ‘Internet y Uruguaynet’.  You will see the two numbers to program into your modem, choose either (09091234 or 09091264).  Of course, you need access to call ‘0’ numbers. 

Charges for this service are detailed on the webpage above.  
You are billed for two separate services.  The internet connection and the ‘computo’ (pulse) charges you normally pay when using eh phone.  Figure on a peso for every 4 minutes for the internet.  Pulso (computo) rates are 1 peso per 2 minutes business hours and 1 peso per 5 minutes, non business hours, weekends and major holidays.  The charges appear on your monthly phone bill.

Shortly after Antel introduced this service, several companies purchased service from them in bulk and repackaged it for consumers.  To compete, Antel offers fixed rate, unlimited dialup plans through the country.  As of today, it’s $285 per month incl taxes.  You still must pay the ‘pulso’ charge, part of your regular telephone service tariff.   

High speed internet is provided by, you guess it, Antel (via Anteldata).  It’s called ‘ADSL Banda Ancha’ (broadband).   Find all the details at the above URL by clicking that heading.  They have a much great range of plans than they used to have.  One effective alternative is to contract for volume of data instead of time on line.  You can select slower speeds to save money or lesser hours.   Other companies resell these same plans/services from Antel under private label.  Interestingly enough, everyone charges exactly the same price.  

With 3 of us online and VoIP in use, we find the 1024 package ($1258 incl taxes), is adequate.   ADSL from Anteldata is available in most towns and cities in Uruguay.   It is rarely available elsewhere.  These areas a served by another provider called Dedicado.  Connection is via point to point microwave. 

You can get all the details about Dedicado at ( www.dedicado.com.uy).  Prices vary from ADSL but when you compare apples to apples, they’re competitive.  A lot of people in towns (like Montevideo) use Dedicado.   Perhaps they wanted to get away from the Antel monopoly, or they wanted better rates on LD (Dedicao is a discounter of LD in Uruguay), or perhaps, in their particular case, the plan or service is better.   For instance, when you choose a speed from Dedicado, you can mix upload/download speeds to get what you need.  Where Anteldata effectively caps you out at 128kbps upload, Dedicado allows you to choose 256kbps or 512kbps.   In return, you reduce the download speeds.  With 1024 ADSL, you can choose 512/512 which gives you DSL.   You would want the higher upload speeds if you were sending a lot of material to the other end, like file transfering to a server or using 2 or more VoIP connections simultaneously, especially if one of them is using an older codec, like proprietary Cisco, NEC or Nortel IP phones. 

One thing to keep in mind is that ADSL is distance dependant for speed.  The further away from the central office you are, the slower the speed.  This may not be an issue in Uruguay where the speeds are so low compared to Canada/USA, that just getting synch may give you the advertised speed.  But you should consider this when deciding between the two.  Just beause your ADSL works, doesn’t mean you’re getting what you’re paying for. 

Reliability with both of these companies has been excellent, either through dialup or Banda Ancha for the past few years.  It probably still is but there are always problems you have to deal with.

Here, if you use ADSL, you must always be concerened with lightning for the majority of the year.  Not so much in Montevideo proper, but it should be guarded against when you’re in the smaller towns or rural areas.  Protection should always be used, wherever and whenever possible. 

2 weeks ago, Antel upgraded their network and my router stopped working.  Turns out they made a change that requires a firmware upgrade on my router.  After the upgrade, the router is flaky, losing connectivity 4-5 times a day.   This morning, I awoke to find it had defaulted to factory settings.  I could not imagine any provider in NA upgrading their systems without support for legacy router firmware.  But here, they obviously did.  It’s not their fault my router is flaky.  It’s in the new firmware.  And on top of that, believe it or not, Linksys is down today and I cant patch the firmware.  

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