Readers also report trouble with their Internet service

Internet service for expats ranges from annoying to terrible, according to responses by readers to a news story last week.

The story said that Internet service appeared to be in decline.

That assessment was no surprise to a lot of readers who have been battling for months for better service.

The demand for Internet service in Costa Rica appears to be exceeding what the state telecom company and private firms can provide.

For example, a Cable Tica connection in western San José dipped to an incredible 20 kbps early Sunday. The download is supposed to be 8 mbps. So the speed was about 2.5 percent what was promised.

The same line showed a 6.07 mbps download speed about 3 p.m. Sunday that then dipped to 1.64 mbps about 10:40 p.m.

Some readers also measure their download and upload speeds, which are established by contract with the service provider. A reader in Sarchí said:

“We buy 4 mbps of Internet bandwidth, and when the Internet isn’t down completely, we are lucky to get just over 2 mbps during parts of the day. And even so, it is intermittent and constantly fluctuating, which causes it to drop our connection frequently. However, we get only in the neighborhood 0.9-2 mbps in the evening. It is the same situation for everyone using I.C.E. Internet on our street.”

He said that he had, at least, 20 service visits in the past nine months. “We may see some temporary improvement from these efforts, but our bandwidth always reverts back to unacceptable levels,” he said.

The reader, of course, was referring to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

A reader in San Isidro de Grecia reported that he thought his service was slower now than just a few weeks also. Another reported problems with Cable Centro, which services the southern part of the country around Golfito.

Another reader said he lives in Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste and has not had reliable Internet service since before Christmas. He said:

“We have Cable Tica to provide service. They sent technicians out to our house on three separate occasions. I paid more money to increase my speed from 1 mbps (which has worked for the last 1.5 years) to 3 mbps to solve the problem, which it did not.”

Some readers noted that those who field complaints at cable company call centers usually blame the customer’s equipment. They give elaborate instructions in initializing the router or computer when the problem clearly is with the company lines and servers. They are quick to offer a service call.

Internet use has mushroomed. Online services like YouTube, Netflix and iTunes are providing enormous amounts of data for entertainment. Mobil devices put Internet access in every user’s hand.  Several types of cheap long-distance telephone and video connection also suck up bandwidth.

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