Sunday, March 6

Internet Experience

Jess and I are avid internet users….it is worthwhile outlining our experience in terms of getting internet connection in Switzerland after leaving the familiarity of Australia.

We bought ourselves & our family webcams before leaving, intending to make extensive use – it is wonderful seeing the pictures. We have found the sound is not too good. We suspect one needs broadband at both ends for this to be effective (we will get this when we have somewhere permanent to live). We also discovered a groovy sight called – free computer to computer conversations or very cheap computer to phone…..again frustrating without broadband.

Also before we left Australia we looked for a provider – not that easy if you are not fluent in French or German (we aren’t). Jess found a ‘global roaming’ company that claimed to be cheap!!! What a bad experience. We bought some credit (euros) & essentially got ripped off, paying the equivalent of around $12A/ hour as well as exorbitant telephone connection costs (from our temporary accommodation). After a period we finally gave up….as well as being frustrating, the experience cost us $150A with unbelievably little return.

We then decided to go Swiss….we visited a Swisscom shop…an experience in itself. We nearly broke the automatic door getting in, didn’t take our number & then had trouble communicating with the Swisscom staff member. Anyway we bought a dial up package called ‘Bluewin’ & came home to install. It claimed to have English, but we soon found ourselves needing to install in German. Quite a challenge….but Frau Gardner and I got there with some intelligent guess work (it wouldn’t let you proceed if things were wrong!!).

Anyway, we have the system working and while it is a little slow, it seems relatively cheap (time will tell on this!!). I guess the moral of this story is to go straight for the national carrier, and while one can get by with very limited French in Geneva (that’s us, but we intend to correct this) having reasonable knowledge of French is a real bonus.

It is great being able to see and talk to family back in Australia & it is worthwhile persisting……we also had huge issues with our email - but that is another story. Boy am I glad I married an IT guru!!

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