A New Kind of Blog

There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Internet

It has taken us three different companies to find one that will give us a good connection to the internet. Part of the problem is of our own making by not understanding what we were being advised by the person we contacted at each company. We first tried Porta which required eight visits to the store at Mall del Rio before we were up and running. Each visit required us to get some kind of additional documentation including a statement from our Ecuador bank stating that we were customers in good standing. We left them a month ago because we could not get a Skype connection that would last more than a minute and, even more often, no connection at all. Then, on a recommendation, we contracted with Etapa, the water company, who are another local internet provider. It worked just fine for a week but soon developed a critical condition that prevented us from connecting any time of the day except late in the evening.  Another friend had suggested we try Empresa, the electric company. Today, we signed a year’s contract with them and think we finally understand the connection problem. The key is the usage figure that they all quote. It is either 8:1, 6:1, 4:1 or a commercial rate of 2:1 or 1:1. The first number is the amount of people you will share the connection with. Therefore, 8:1 means you will share the time you are on with up to seven other people plus you when you are all connected at the same time. The more people on at the same time the slower the connection speed. Of course, the price goes up as the speed increases and the rate decreases. The way to figure the best plan is to divide the receiving speed, say 512, by the usage rate, say 4:1 to get a number that will be 128 and compare it to another plan that will give, as an example,  384 speed divided by 2:1 or 192. 192 is a faster rate than 128 so is supposed be a better connection. This is probably the reason we had so many problems with Etapa at a speed of 1200 divided by 8:1 ratio which gave us a rate of 150. But, who knows. It might be something else. Once you sign a contract, a technician will hopefully come to your apartment or home within a couple of days to install the modem on your computer. Empresa, the electric company, is a huge organization but required us to walk two blocks to the nearest copy shop to get a cedula copied. This happens all over, at the car registration, at the hospitals, or at the utilities. Almost everywhere they will not use their copy machines but make you go out and get one at a nearby copy shop. These little frustrations are just part of life in Ecuador but the internet connection has become a major trial for us and we can only keep our fingers crossed that it is solved once and for all. 

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