Wednesday, Jul 6, 2016

The internet guy showed up today! I’m going with PuntoNet fiber optic service but this was a challenge in getting set up. Christian, the internet guy, didn’t speak any English so I was taxing my brain trying to pull the few words I know out of it to communicate with him. We got it done but I was exhausted afterward.

So this is how it went down. Originally I was told that it would cost $125 to run fiber optic cable to the building, but the normal $80 installation charge would be waived. I asked the owner of the building if he would be willing to split the cost to get fiber optics to the house. He said sure, and he would switch to PuntoNet as well.

The owner called and talked with Christian at PuntoNet too and was told that IF PuntoNet had a double-line cable he could run the one line to the house for $100 and it would serve both our places. If he didn’t have the double line, then it would be two lines and it would cost $100 each.

Christian told me today there was no double-line cable available, and he would have to run two separate lines to the house, and it was $125 each. I love how prices vary…gringo price alert.

The router was a $55 charge and the “installation” of the router was $30. However, both fees would be waived if I signed a 2 year contract. If I end early I have to pay these. The installation fee for the router of course is ridiculous…plug it into the power outlet and clip in the data cable. Whatever.

Christian needed my Cedula number to run through some program on his phone. I came back as A rated. Apparently the waiver of the $80 installation fee for PuntoNet is only if you are AAA or AA rated, which then shows the fee as $0 in the program on his phone.

I guess because I do not have any credit in Ecuador I’m only A rated. At the moment I am having difficulty not feeling like a “junk bond”. He was able to give me a $30 discount off the $80 install charge, so I only had to pay $50 for what was “free installation”.

The real kicker was that I thought he was here today to install the fiber optic internet, but I was wrong. It will be 7-10 days for the install. This is the norm of what I have run into previously, so it isn’t surprising.

The good news is I do have internet until the new service gets completed. What is also convenient is that my monthly PuntoNet bill can be charged on my US credit card. This is an advantage because otherwise these bills, like with ETAPA, need to be paid in person at various locations in the city.

Finally, the monthly internet bill is only $34 for 10 megas on fiber optics with PuntoNet, instead of $51 for 8 megas on cable with ETAPA. It will be interesting to see how close and how consistently I get 10 megas with the fiber optics, but overall I am expecting much faster service.

To live in Ecuador one has to be ready to deal with the frustrations of the language barrier. Getting this done was a difficult conversation and at one point I had to phone a friend, Pam who speaks Spanish, to talk to Christian and translate. I was not understanding that the router cost and installation fee for it were being waived with the 2 year contract. I had thought Christian was telling me these were additional start up fees.

I signed my name five times on three different pages of contracts containing very small writing. Christian went over the different sections with me and I think I understood what each section was about, but I’m not 100% certain.

I am getting better though because with the ETAPA guy, I signed similar contracts and he left without giving me copies. He could add anything in on them, like the $25 service fee and $42 modem charge he failed to tell me about. With PuntoNet I have my copies…it is the small victories here folks.

There is a great deal of uncertainty when you are not able to fully communicate. For me, living in this space becomes exhausting after awhile. Life in Ecuador is not an easy breezy experience for a non-Spanish speaker. It does however increase my resolve to get better at understanding and using the language here.

20160702_154601I saw this gentleman feeding the pigeons in a plaza in El Centro the other day. I thought it made for an interesting pic. Life looks simple.