Actually getting functioning internet in my apartment here was such a process I am going to devote a whole blog post to this. It was the longest most frustrating process of my life,truly. So I moved into this apartment back in early March with my ex roommate Mark. We were told upfront there was no internet and we would have to sort it out. I thought it wouldn't be a problem and man alive was I ever wrong! I am "legal" here in Colombia, I have a bank account, a work visa,national ID and all the proper things you need for life here. I assumed this was enough to get the process started. But No.
The first company we tried to go with, they told me that they could do it no problem. So I registered it in my name and got the appointment for install all setup and then I waited. and waited. After days of delays they finally showed up and told me they couldn't do it because there was no coverage at my apartment even though at the physical store they said there was! I was so angry for wasting so time for nothing. But, a few days later they called back and said they now had coverage. This time I thought I was being smart though, I got the girlfriend of Mark (who is a Colombiana) to put the internet in her name. Then started this process all over again. More waiting. and waiting. finally I went to their office and asked them why no one has showed up to install my internet. They then informed me she wasn't in a certain Colombian database called Dato Credito so they couldn't do it! I was so mad because again I had wasted so much time!!
Fast forward a few weeks, Even though I was beginning to hate that company I went back to them again, this time with a good friend of mine who WAS in Dato Credito. Thought I covered all my bases this time when we put the internet in her name and waited for install. and waited. They were two days past the date they said they were going to install our internet and I was fearing the worst. Finally they showed up and informed me they had internet coverage on our street but not in our apartment!! At this point I wanted to cry and scream! So we cancelled the service that they never provided and moved onto company number two.
This company promised me that I didn't even have to be in Dato Credito, that they just had to verify two personal references and then they would mail us the wireless modem and we just plug it in. No install required. Well this "verification" process took 8 days and about a million phone calls and internet chats with them back and forth. My new roommate Cornelia even has a new nickname now "Senora Cornelia el chat" because she was chatting with them so much!
Well after 8 days of frustration and waiting we got so tired of it all we called to cancel everything. Man alive was that ever a process! Well you guessed it, the VERY next day (after we cancelled) they mailed us the modem! So we had to call and re-activate our service! What a pain! But then come to find out because the walls of my apartment are completely concrete, the signal was not strong enough! :( So back to square one for us.
At this point after 4.5 months of trying, I am losing hope that we will ever get internet. So we go to company number three. A friend of Cornelia's he had a direct contact in this company. We explained our situation to him and he pushed everything through. But, this company was THREE days late on their install. We were again at the point of cancelling our service (and actually did for a bit) but then we decided to fight it. We went to their office in person and Cornelia gave them a good lecture about all our troubles and FINALLY after three companies and 4.5 months of trying we now have internet.
This is what it is like for a foreigner to get internet in Colombia. All because I was not in a single freaking database that they needed. (But the process to get into that database is actually harder than getting internet) It is easier to get illegal things here than it is to get internet! Never had so many problems in my life. But thank God it is finally over.
Be thankful for the BBB and civilized North American companies who actually still treat you with a shred of respect. Life isn't always easy living in an "emerging economy" and the Colombian people let companies treat them like this. These companies only get away with this behavior because no one complains. (Except for us apparently)
But this whole sage proves the old saying "It isn't what you know, it's who you know".
Now I have two videos for your enjoyment so that entire post was pretty depressing. Just click the links below. -Tyler
Bogota sneak peak