ISPs and Contracts in a country with monopolies aplenty

I’m slightly unclear on the logic behind binding people to long (or any) contracts at all; especially when, the majority of the time, the customer has absolutely no (other) choice if he/she chooses to terminate the contract. Malaysia seems to be full of these people who seem to be unclear on what the main purpose of the contract is (beyond the obvious). In countries with an open last-mile (and as such, numerous competing ISPs in the same area), contracts tie down customers to a certain ISP for a certain amount of time… giving the ISP time to bleed make some profit from said customer over the contract period without having to worry about the customer scurrying off when another ISP offers better value. Now, over here in Malaysia… Let’s just say that Ah Kao is staying in landed property, this leaves Ah Kao with only 1 real choice (which makes it NOT a choice I guess?); Telekom Malaysia StreamyX. Now, why do I say 1 real choice? *Random shouts of P1, Amax, Maxis, DiGi* All of the aforementioned ISPs delivery method is wireless… meaning:

(a) they tend to be as reliable as Astro in Malaysia (which is basically a pile of shit but Malaysians don’t have a choice) – completely unreliable
(b) have completely retarded data caps

Any remotely heavy user (if you are heavier than a starving African child then you are a remotely heavy user) will most likely not be suited to any of the wireless ISPs… leaving StreamyX. So, Ah Kao signs up with StreamyX, but notices that there are some minor perks to signing a 2 year contract (like a free mug or something that costs the ISP almost nothing). Why lock down Ah Kao to a 2 year contract (everybody hates contracts) when it’s pretty obvious that Ah Kao has absolutely nowhere else to turn to? It’s not like Ah Kao can ring up TeliaSonera or BredBandsBolaget and get the service of an ISP that isn’t completely full of shit (like 99% of ISPs in Malaysia).

But hey, keep going ISPs in Malaysia… continue to extort money from customers in return for your subpar and overpriced services. Yes, I said subpar and overpriced… stop comparing Malaysia to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Vanuatu, Sudan, and other war torn countries and pick on any one of your direct neighbours. The half-assed opening of the last-mile will solve and improve nothing… just like 2 year contracts when no other real option exists.

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