Sunday, May 16, 2010

You Are Being Used as a Cash Cow—The Real Scoop on Smart Bro

As a user of Smart Broadband's SmartBro, I am very much frustrated of SmartBro's speed, performance and reliability. SmartBro is claimed to reach speeds of up to 2Mbps yet I'd be very happy if I could get even a quarter of that. Upload speed is even more problematic. Most of the time, 5Kbps is all you can ever get. This is frustrating if you ever need to upload something—like a photo—on sites such as Facebook and Flickr. Even simple web browsing could result in a connection timeout because of this slower than slow upload speeds. And surfing the Web, it seems like I'm not the only one having problems with SmartBro. The number of anti-SmartBro posts is significant but the multitude of comments thereon is even more telling.

Smart Broadband's Smart Bro Share-It, Plug-It and SurfTV broadband Internet are all based on HSDPA so I searched around for information about this technology and why SmartBro, which is based on it, is so slow. I found that HSDPA is a protocol in the HSPA family and is not slow per se. Using this technology, down-link speeds of 1.8, 3.6, 7.2 and 14.0 Mbit/s (Mbps) could be realized. So, if HSPA is not slow and SmartBro is based on it, then why is SmartBro's speed so slow? Smart Broadband will not give you a straight answer here so here’s an interesting theory.

Obviously, to properly implement HSPA, you need to have the proper equipment and infrastructure and I imagine that these equipment and their installation do not come cheap. The lack of these equipment and the insufficiency of Smart's infrastructure could only be the reason why SmartBro is so slow even if you are just 50 meters away from a tower in an area well-covered by HSPA signal. The potential speed of HSPA networks could not be realized if one does not properly implement them.

But the fact that Smart Broadband cannot properly implement HSPA is not the problem. No one can fault them. Like I said, these equipment are probably expensive. The problem is that they mislead the public into thinking that they have the capability to deliver speeds of up to 2Mbps and charge accordingly. Now this is fraud.

The reason Smart Broadband is doing this could only be because they reckon that by selling a poor product for the price of the real thing using flashy promotion and marketing, they will soon have the cash they need to hopefully fully implement HSPA and customers would be none the wiser.

Let us say that I am Smart Broadband. It would roughly go about like so: Hmmm. This HSPA thing is amazing; maybe I can make lots of moolah if I offer this service in my network and call it SmartBro. But it seems like I need plenty of money to buy all the stuff to make this happen. Oh, I know! I don't have to buy all the stuff in one go. I would just have to buy enough to make HSPA work even if it is just slow and unreliable (because it is still incomplete). Of course, it won't attain true HSPA speeds of 2Mbps—more like dial-up speeds. However, I'll just pretend it'll reach 2Mbps and use obscure language like "up to" to cover for me. Anyway, those dumb people won't know the difference and as long as I market it real good, have a nice jingle and hire celebrities, they'll come rushing in with their money. Now, since I charged them for a Mercedes while actually giving them a Hyundai, I will use the difference to fully implement the service. Gosh, these people are building my business for me at zero cost. Am I a genius, or what?

Smart is using you as a cash cow to finance their business so that they will be richer and you, poorer. You were made to pay a fee that would cover the cost of a fully operational HSPA network. But since theirs is half baked, their actual cost is way lower. The difference is what would allow them to slowly build up their network. They are milking you.

In away, you are like a bank loaning them money; only, the bank earns interest and has a security—you don't. You get problems instead. It could also look like you are an investor investing money in Smart; only, you neither earn dividends, have voting rights, perks nor even a small stake in the company. Sorry, but you simply got punked.

I don't know if your are okay with being being used by large, rich corporations to further enrich themselves. I'm not sure if you are willing to close your eyes on expensive, inferior products so long as they are aggressively marketed and promoted by popular celebrities. You can simply continue patronizing SmartBro even after knowing how much of a fake it is. If you are a Smart Broadband employee, you can even go on tweeting about how great SmartBro is even if you know deep inside the falsity of such a claim. But you can also stand up and refuse to be used. Show them that you are not as dumb and gullible as they thought you are.

Tell your friends and acquaintances just how bad this service is. Put up a blog, tweet about it, mention it in Facebook. Tell people the truth. Do your part in preventing and ending shady business practices such as this. In truth, this service is hardly distinguishable from a scam. Do everything in your power to end this.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Smart Bro Resellers in the Malls

You might think that the posts I make here about Smart Bro problems are exaggerations. Nothing could be further from the truth. But if this is the case, then there is one simple test you can do. You will have fun in the process and might be able to save some unsuspecting Smart Bro applicant from the clutches of evil.

Just visit the malls any time you get bored or get caught by the scheduled brownouts at your place. But do not forget to bring your laptop with you. Luckily, you will chance upon Smart Bro resellers hawking Smart Bro Share-It, Plug-It and Surf TV devices and services (and boasting how their Smart Bro rocks up to 2Mbps). Here, your fun begins.

First, you have to wait until there is quite a crowd around the Smart Bro booth or stall. You will be able to help the maximum number of people this way. Get in and let the Smart Bro person commit to their false advertised speed. (Sir, this really reaches 2Mbps!)

Then, whip out your laptop or netbook and ask for a speed test trial. If they don’t agree, it only means that they are aware of the lie they are spreading and are afraid of being proven wrong. Visit, (and click “Speed Meter” at the topmost menu), or any other speed testing site. On a good day, it will only reach 0.2Mbps (200Kbps); On average, it will chug around 0.1Mbps. However, if you are lucky, it will reflect its usual day to day speed of 0.05Mbps (dial-up speed). Show the results to the people around and wipe the lie off the Smart Bro person’s face. Hopefully, you will be instrumental in their decision to apply or not to apply for Smart Bro services.

Although I want to, I cannot take credit for this trick. I just saw someone do this at a Smart Bro booth and then it gave me an idea. Nothing is more fun than exposing the lies that Smart Broadband Inc. makes about its Smart Bro Share-It, Plug-It and Surf TV Internet. And if, along the way, you can help others from suffering the problem that Smart Bro is, then so much the better.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SmartBro and FaceBook Do Not Mix

One of the joys of being online is to connect to friends using social media and networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. You want to get into the act and are asking if it is wise to get SmartBro so that you can claim your own personal space in Facebook.

SmartBro always touts its up to two mbps download speed. I already mentioned in my previous posts that this is very far from the truth. But there is another problem aside from the slow download speed; and that is very, very slow upload speed. Try asking a SmartBro sales agent or service representative what the download speed of SmartBro Share-It is and they’ll instantly tell you “up to 2mbps, ma’am.” Try asking the same person what the upload speed is and they’ll go “ah, uhm, well…”

Let me answer it for you. says it’s 3kbps. Yep, three. That is 0.003mbps. The problem here is that you need a decent upload speed to upload all your photos and video clips to your Facebook account and SmartBro is not up to the task. A Facebook account with no photos are not much fun. So, to spice things up in your Facebook account, skip SmartBro and look for something else—preferably DSL.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Smart Bro Is Very Problematic

I can’t think of any good reason why anyone would get Smart Bro once they become aware of all the problems that SmartBro has to offer. First, SmartBro is problematic to use for downloading torrents; Second, SmartBro is also problematic to use for downloading in sites like RapidShare and MegaUpload. So, what’s with the “Sabay-sabay download” jingle if even one download is already very problematic?

SmartBro speed is very problematic. When I first got my router, I suffered a mere 30kbps connection speed. It increased a bit after constantly (almost every day) calling the hotline. But then, it would slow down again after a couple days and I would have to call the hotline again. If you subscribe to SmartBro, you will be paying a lot only to suffer all of these problems. SmartBro is nothing but problems. If you don’t beleive me, you’ll soon find it out yourself. But by then, you are already locked in. Get SmartBro only if you find it stimulating to memorize your SmartBro account number and to call SmartBro’s hotline daily for a chat with the bored CSR who just got smacked by the previous caller.

SmartBro connection is also very problematic. You get connected, disconnected, reconnected and disconnected all the time. That’s funny because one of the reasons that attract people to SmartBro Plug-It and SmartBro Share-It is mobility. You can theoretically have an internet connection anywhere where there is an HSDPA signal and an outlet in the case of SmartBro Share-It. But in practice, this is not the case. Connection is very problematic even in a fixed, well-placed location. Get SmartBro only if you find it fun to confuse your Skype or Yahoo Messenger buddies when they see you logged-in …and out …and in …and out again.

Overall, Smart Bro is nothing but problems. Get it only if your resume states: “Likes problem solving.”

Monday, February 8, 2010

SmartBro Share-It and Plug-It Does Not Work Well With Torrents

Do you have some torrent files to download using Bit torrent clients? I have. But I found out that SmartBro does not play well with torrents. So, if you want to subscribe to Smart Bro with the aim of downloading megabytes of torrents, forget it.

I am fond of Linux and FreeBSD. These free Operating System software are widely available in Bit torrent, which is a nice way of distributing software as it is bandwidth efficient. The problem is that these software are huge, and there are lots of them in the form of different distributions. They also get updated frequently so you also need to download them often.

Downloading torrents, however, requires that you are connectable to peers in order for you to have a decent download speed. If not, then you’d have to make do with speeds of around 4-5 kB/s on most torrents specially those with low seeds to peers ratio. Unfortunately, you are not connectable if you are using Smart Bro Share-It or SmartBro Plug-It. Aside from the fact that a lot of SmartBro subscribers share the same IP address as I discussed in my previous post about how SmartBro does not play well with Rapidshare and MegaUpload, it also has this problem for torrent users which they call a double NAT configuration. This simply means that you are not connectable to peers and that most torrents are practically out of your reach.

If ever you subscribe to SmartBro’s Share-It and Plug-It service, just know that you cannot satisfactorily use it with torrents and RapidShare or MegaUpload. I guess the most downloading that SmartBro can do is downloading emails. :D

Smart Bro Share It or Plug It is Not Good for Downloading Using RapidShare, MegaUpload and Similar Sites

If you plan to subscribe to SmartBro so that you can download from sites such as RapidShare, MegaUpload and others, I’ll tell you right here right now that you will have a hard time doing that. Even assuming that you will be able to reach their claimed speed of up to 2Mbps (which is impossible) or even 1Mbps (next to impossible) you still won’t  be able to make use of that (theoretical) speed.

I found that out when a relative directed me to a link in RapidShare. It was a video of her child which someone uploaded there as it’s too big to send through email. When I tried to download the link, RapidShare spat an error telling me that my IP address is already downloading a file and that I can’t download another while that download is going on. What?! Am not!

Turns out that a lot of Smart Bro subscribers share the same IP address and when one of them downloads stuff from RapidShare or MegaUpload, others can’t download from those sites because even if they are separate SmartBro subscribers, RapidShare or MegaUpload sees them as one since they all have the same IP address. And those sites don’t allow more than one free download at the same time by the same IP.

No worry, I thought. I’ll just have to wait until the other gal finishes her download. Then I’ll start mine. The problem is, you do not know when the other’s going to finish so you have to keep on hitting refresh on your browser. This is a tedious thing to do. And remember, other users are also hitting their refresh buttons; so, this is a race on who gets in the site first.

Let us say that you managed to get in ahead of the other guys by three in the morning. Your problem is not yet solved. You see, videos are large files and RapidShare and MegaUpload only allows approximately 100MB chunks. So, one video file has to be broken up into around 32 parts. To get the whole video, you have to download all 32 individual parts. Now, 31 more races ahead.

The bottom line is that Smart Bro Share-It or Smartbro Plug-It does not play well with sites like RapidShare or MegaUpload. And since SmartBro does not work well with torrents as I will discuss in my next post, either, it is useless for downloading practically anything more than a few megabytes.

SmartBro is Playing Tricks on You

To all SmartBro subcribers: have you ever noticed that your connection speed will increase (a little) after you call customer service and then return to snail’s pace again after a day or two? Then, you would have to call them again. Why can’t they just maintain the speed? I’ve been through this cycle a lot since I subscribed to this problematic SmartBro Share-It service. And I tell you, it ain’t fun. If you don’t want problems with your Internet, then I suggest that you stay away from Smart Bro because with it, trouble is all you’ll get. Oh, and you’ll also memorize your Smart Bro Share It number in no time because you’ll need it every time you call.