My experiences – Internet and India

by tcmohan

Working on a 2 mbps connection at home, I was thinking about MY OneWebDay, the day I dreamt of having a good bandwidth. Surprisingly that day has passed and I did not seem to notice… Confused ? Read the chronology of my experiences on the Internet and you will know

1. 1995 – My first internet experience at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. I was browsing at the speed of 10 to 20 bytes per second, network was ERNET. I was surprised to see the website of IISc was loading much faster, understood Intranet and Internet thouroughly :-)

I was using Netscape Navigator and I also learnt the menaing of a one word – STALLED, which I would never forget as you keep seeing that in the status bar of the browser always.

2. 1995 – Wanted to work on internet desparately. Found that VSNL is the only service provider in India. There were 2 types of accounts, TCP/IP account for INR 5000  per month [ a little over US $ 160 by the exchange rate that prevailed in 1995] for 500 hours and Student (Shell) account for Rs. 500 (100 hours). I was earning a salary of INR 6000 per month [ the equivallent of US $ 200 going by the exchange rate of those days] , however managed to save the amount and applied for a TCP/IP account (In fact I did not know the difference between TCP/IP and Shell account, however thought that more the money, better the experience. I was informed by VSNL that they have stopped issuing as they have exhausted the bandwidth available and I can get only a shell account, however I have to produce a student Id card for  the same.

I got my friend’s sister’s Id card and got an account, the username of the account is, the username will only be in the name of the student :-(

I started using the shell account, found out that shell account is a text only account, meaning that one cannot use a GUI browser, can only use text browser like Lynx, chat programs like IRC etc. In fact I was happy to get a username like divya as I used to get a lot of chat requests from men in India :-) )

The connection speed was in the range of approximately 300 to 400 bytes per second.

3. 1996 – Got my first TCP/IP connection, thanks to the company I was working for. Got the connection from the Managing Director, convincing him that I would create a website for the company. Got my first web based mail id, registered by my late friend CSK from the USA. I remember registering will all the mail service providers,, etc.

Designed my first personal website, used paintshop pro and animation to create images. I was one of the very few among our peers, group to have a website and I used to flaunt it like one hell of a thing.

Connection speed was in the range of 1 to 2 KB per second.

4. 1997 – Started, a service for the Non-Resident Indians to send and receive letters to and from India. Relatives of the users will send the letter to our office in Chennai and we upload them to their user area. The letters, post cards were scanned, optimized for a smaller image size (approximately 50 KB) for a page and we have to upload approximately 200,300 images a day.

OH WHAT A TASK.. First connecting to the internet using a dial-up connection. Again our service provider stopped issuing accounts, so we have to get one in the bacl market for double the rate. The sound at which it gets connected, I will be able to say the speed. And it disconnects often, doesnt work for days. My dreams on those days will have the sound of my PC getting connected to Internet. I used to sit the whole night to upload all the images

Connection speed – 24 to 56 kbps, file uploads at the speed of 2 to 4 KB ps

4. 1999 – Got our Venture capital fund. First thing to do was to get a decent internet connection. The only choice was a radio tower. Our Country’s first private ISP, Sify was our choice. We were one of their first customers. Tower was laid at the cost of Rs. 200,000 with a monthly cost of s. 40,000. Even then there were some problems, however we were able to work at the speed of approximately 10 KB per second.

5. 2001 – Internet Revolution in India, Lots of private ISPs came into the market. We were able to use 256 and 512 kbps

6. 2006 – BSNL launched 2 mbps connection for common people.

7. 2007 – I started using GPRS at the speed of 50 kbps and people are talking about 3G services which will have a speed of 2mbps on mobile.

Hmmmmm just think of browsing at  1 byte per second on Netscape navigator, haven’t I crossed my dream day of browsing at decent speed ????

I am blessed, I can say our age group has been blessed with the exposure of the worst and the best times of the Internet and the Web

Happy One Web Day


(Chandramohan is an entrepreneur based at Chennai, India and is Director – Communications with ISOC India Chennai)

Leave a Reply