Tag Archives: internet in Mexico

The Internet Saga Continues

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Remember how one of the ladies that makes tortillas for my sister-in-law said that Los Amoles, the community WAY up the mountain had internet service. She gave my husband the contact number one day and we called. It took two days for the salesperson to return the call, but he did and I set up an appointment for him to come out and visit us the next day at 11 am.

He arrived at 11 am which was the last time he arrived on time throughout this entire agonizingly long process. We were ready to sign up immediately. It was satellite internet, via Star Go,  not wireless internet. It was designed to be used by banks and other institutions so there was always steady internet. It used the Hughes Network System, which has been around a while.

We had to be approved of course. So we gave him a copy of our property certificado (ownership certificate) and my husband’s IFE. There was some holdup at the main office because there wasn’t a street address but we explained that the certificate does list the block, lot number, and fraccionamiento (neighborhood) so the appropriate address would be domicilio conocido fraccionamiento La Yacata. (Known address Neighborhood La Yacata). Plus the salesperson sent the GPS coordinates of the house. With that, we could proceed.

We waited another week for a copy of the contract. Every day we contacted the salesperson who called the main office where he was told the office lady was busy and hadn’t gotten around to our contract. He called us the following week to tell us we should be receiving the contract, sent via email, that afternoon. We didn’t. Three days later, he came out to the house and called the main office from here. The office lady said that my email didn’t give an address–What on earth did that mean? No email gives our address. We went back and forth with the salesperson about this. So the lady at the office asked if I had an alternate email address. I did. The contract was sent. When I checked the contract, the original email was misspelled. That was the problem.

So, I entered a virtual signature just like I do for my taxes and sent it back. Nope, not good enough. We had to go to a cyber cafe to print the 10-page contract out and sign it, scan it and send it back via email. Nope, not good enough. Each page of the contract needed to be signed. Another scan and sent. Nope. Each page has to be signed on the right side. Another printout, sign, scan and send. Nope. It must be signed in blue ink, not black.  HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! Another printout, signed with blue ink, scan and send. Finally!

The installation would be scheduled in about a week. So we waited. By this time, we’d lost any enthusiasm we had for this internet service. A week later, the installation guy came. He unloaded his equipment and started swearing. He had forgotten the antenna. He asked if we really needed it installed today. He had driven from Leon. Yes, we wanted it installed. So he made some calls. About an hour later, he tracked down an antenna here in Moroleon and went to pick it up.

Installation took about 3 hours. The installation guy said that the service would be bad for about 24-48 hours as it calibrated. Fine. He also mentioned that the internet we already had would work just fine if we had an antenna. Hmm, I’d have to look into that.

Over the next few days, we were further disappointed with the service. Even though I was very clear that I needed enough Mbps to teach online, the package only came with 3 Mbps. So we called the salesperson again and asked if we could increase the service to at least 5 Mbps. He said we would need to call the main office. So we did. My son asked about the high ping–more than 300. The service technician said that since it was a satellite service, it would always have that ping, making it usable for online gaming and Skype calls. We decided to up our service to 5 Mbps anyway.

The service technician sent me a list of requisites via email. Among them was a picture of the modem and router numbers. No problem. I even typed the numbers below the photos. The pictures were not clear enough. So we took another set and sent them. Nope, still not good enough. Ok, a third time. After those too were rejected I decided to cancel the request. We’d manage with the 3 Mbps.

And we are. The satellite internet works for everything but classes and gaming. It’s stable, reliable if a bit slow and extremely expensive! The amount of internet we use for other activities means that we don’t have enough for the full month, about 3 weeks really. Then it becomes even slower, rendering it useless for most things. 

We’ve discussed trying to get out of the 2-year contract, but for right now, we’ll let it stand. Something is better than nothing right?

 

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Filed under Cultural Challenges, Economics, Teaching

Internet Saga

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If you remember, after quite a quest, we managed to get internet service at our house in La Yacata. The first month, it worked like a dream. Thus, my decision to move my office from The Little House in Sunflower Valley to La Yacata.

Then came the time to pay for the second month of service. We headed to OXXO, which seems like it just might make banks obsolete, to pay the bill. And the next day, our internet service tanked. Instead of getting upload/download speeds of between 8 to 10 Mbps, they hovered at .08 or less. Nothing would load.

We thought perhaps it was a one-day deal. Maybe there were some adjustments being made to the service. Maybe a glitch in the system. After all, the month before had gone without a hitch. Only, the bad stats continued and continued and continued. I canceled a week of classes.

We called the service support line. After all sorts of “troubleshooting” that we had already done, the service representative hung up on us. So the next day, we tried again. This time the service representative admitted that since we were officially outside the coverage area, there wasn’t really much he could do to help us.

So we went to the place where we had bought our modem and requested a service technician. We were told he’d be out around 4 pm to check things out. I canceled my classes again. At about 4:30, the service technician called and said he thought the problem was that our payment hadn’t been processed. I knew that was a bunch of hoo-ha since I had received an email confirmation of the payment. He said he’d look into it and call back. He didn’t bother to come out to La Yacata.

So if the service technician wasn’t interested in coming to us, we’d take the modem to them. The next day we boxed it up and went back to the office. Their solution was to wait for the service technician to come from Morelia and have him take the modem home with him. Moroleon is officially outside the coverage area. The fact that the internet works in certain areas is apparently a fluke that this office was capitalizing on. So in theory, connecting the modem in a coverage area would “reset” the internet and allow us again to have usable service.

It took two days for our modem to take its trip to Morelia and back. The result was that yes, for a while it did what it was supposed to do. And yet, there were sporadic outages and low service periods which unfortunately often coincided with my teaching hours.

Some research on the company shows that overall the internet service only rates 3 out of 5 stars and that even though they promise nation-wide coverage, that’s not necessarily the case. There had to be something better out there.

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Filed under Cultural Challenges, Economics, Employment, Small Business in Mexico, Teaching

A room of her own–leaving the Little House in Sunflower Valley

Where I’ve been working for the past 2 years

Once we finally got the internet up and running at our house in La Yacata, there really was no reason to keep renting the Little House in Sunflower Valley. The problems the house had with internet, electricity, and leaks, far outweighed any benefits it might have had in the past.

So, since the rent for the month was already paid, we started gearing up for the move at the end of the month. First, we needed to make arrangements to cancel the internet through Telmex.

This was a two-step process. I had to call the company and receive a “folio” number in order to return the modem to the company. The first time I called, I was disconnected. The second time I explained that I wished to cancel the service because of the numerous fallas (outages) and was given the folio number.

The next day we took the modem to Telmex. We couldn’t just turn it in at the desk with the number. We had to tromp up 4 flights of stairs to the “internet” office. Just like when we contracted the service I wondered about the lack of handicap accessible offices. So there, even though we were the ONLY people in the office, we were instructed to take a number from the number machine. We did. We were number 2.

So when the Telmex internet woman was good and ready, she called us over to her desk. I gave her the folio number. Apparently, my cancelation request was entered as a “baja” instead of cancel, whatever that meant. She deleted the transaction and created another one. I had to explain again that we did NOT have phone service with Telmex, only internet service that we would no longer be using.

Then she said I still had one month’s outstanding balance that I needed to pay before she could process the request to cancel. I sent my husband down the four flights of stairs to pay that. When he came back, she made a copy of my permanent residency card and had me sign the form ending internet service in my name.

As both the electricity and water bills at the Little House were still in the name of the owner, I could not cancel those services. I did make sure I had the last bills I paid with the receipt as proof of payment to turn over with the key. Because the bills are bi-monthly, as a renter I would still be responsible for the next water and electric bills. However, since I had paid $1000 deposit, I didn’t see why the outstanding balance wouldn’t be deducted from that, and instead, I would receive about $700 from the deposit.

The owner of the house lives in Yuriria, which is about a 40-minute drive for us, so we went there one afternoon hoping to catch her at home. Of course, she wasn’t there, but her son was. We explained that we would no longer be renting, that these were the last paid bills, and that there was an outstanding balance from the deposit owed to us.

The son refused to take any of the papers and said that he would have the owner call us to “inspect” the house and we could ask about the deposit then.  He asked about this month’s rent. I showed him the bank receipt proving it had been paid. He asked about next month’s rent. As it was still 2 days until the beginning of the next month, I certainly wasn’t paying another month. Fine, then. We didn’t leave the key.

The owner has not yet contacted me. I believe her thought process is to keep the entire deposit. While I don’t enjoy being taken advantage of, in this case, by not receiving the remainder of the balance on the deposit, I am of the mind that karma will take care of the matter for me.

You see, several months ago, the lock on the front door broke, so we replaced it. She will need to break into her own house and have a new lock made unless she calls us for the key. All of which could have been avoided had she done things as they should be done.

The move back to La Yacata took longer than I thought it should. We accumulated quite a bit of junk in the 2 years we rented there. My husband and son are heading to the tianguis in Valle this weekend to turn some of this crap into billetes (money).

In the meantime, I’ve started setting up my home office in the spare room in La Yacata.

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Filed under Electricity issues, Employment

A room of her own–Paying the Bills

About half way through the month, an envelope with my name on it was slid under the door. I probably was a bit more excited than the situation warranted because it was the first Telmex bill. I hadn’t even had the service a month yet, and it was already due. The next step was trying to figure out how to pay it.

I tried paying it online, but the system didn’t like my payroll credit card. So then I thought I’d try and go to the Telmex office to pay it there. There is only one Telmex office and it is smack dab in the middle of the mercado (marketplace). I went after school and could NOT find a place to park my moto. Two for two in failed attempts. But, the third time is the charm, right? I went to Soriana with the intent to pay the bill at the register. Only, I paid for my groceries and forgot to pay for the bill, so I had to go back through the line again. There is a 5 peso fee associated with paying at the store, but it was done.

Then rent was due again. I didn’t want to make the trek to Yuriria every month, so I called and asked the owner to give me a bank account number where I could deposit the rent. She gave me an account to HSBC, so I decided to swing by after my afternoon private classes. I struck out. The bank closes at 5:00. I had to try a second time right after school the next day, but it was easy peasy. It was certainly better than a long drive.

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The water bill also came with its outstanding balance of 600 pesos. The owner said that her brother-in-law took care of that (he works at the water company) and I wouldn’t owe anything until January. I expected a pretty high bill with all the washing I’ve been doing, but I guess it just comes with the territory.  And sure enough, the first bimonthly bill was $426 pesos.  A whopper!  Of course, I did wash EVERYTHING in the house, so I’m hoping that the next bill is less. However, looking at the breakdown, there’s a charge for each of the following:  agua, alcantarillado, tratamiento de aguas residencial, rezagos agua, rezagos alcantarillado y tratamiento, recargos, credito por redondeo, cargo por redondeo, IVA alcantarillado y tratamiento (water, sewage, sewage treatment for residence, water charge, sewage charge, surcharges, rounded up credit and charge, taxes on sewage and treatment).  My actual use was lower than the August and October usage, but the charge was exactly the same for the August bill.  Hmm.  

There were fewer options to pay this bill, so off to the water office I went.  Fortunately, I knew where it was and had until the 24th of the month to pay it.  Office hours were from 8 to 2 Monday through Friday.  Not exactly convenient for a working stiff, but  hey, them’s the breaks.  The trick is to get there around 8 before most Mexicans are up and about to avoid long lines.   I could use my bank card for only a 2% commission fee added on, but I opted for cash.  

I asked the girl behind the window what those rezagos charges were.  She said two past bills hadn’t been paid.  As I did not live there during that time, I am not responsible for those costs.  Guess who will be getting $200 pesos less in next month’s rent payment?

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The electric bill was my favorite bill of all!  During the 2 months, I had rented, I had used less than 50kWh which made me eligible for an 85% government assistance credit.  The production cost of the electricity I used was $373.14.  The government support was $333.49.  That meant I needed to pay a whopping $50 pesos.  Of course, there are rumors of this subsidy being revoked in 2017, so I won’t count on all my electric bills being so low, but hey, every little bit counts.  (See Tras gasolinazo, CFE sube tarifas de luz  and Electricity costs up, will continue to rise)

By this time I was an old pro.  Off to La Bodega I went, my little green bill in hand.  When I handed the bill over, the check out man asked me twice if $50 was the total I was paying.  I assured him it was, twice.  So he processed the payment.

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By this time, the Telmex bill was due again.  This time I headed to the office to pay and found a specially designed ATM outside ready to accept my payment.  Bill paying was done in no time.  I heard a rumor that there was one of these handy dandy payment machines for the electricity bill too.  I’ll definitely check it out next month!

In the meantime, the refrenda for my moto came due.  Conveniently enough, I could pay this bill at the Isseg Farmacia instead of heading to the department of motor vehicles and taking a number.  So that’s what I did. Two minutes and 119 pesos later, I was done.

Finished.  I feel so empowered!  I can pay bills in Mexico all on my own!  Yeah me!

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Filed under Economics, Electricity issues, Water issues