I know it’s gonna sound crazy, but if you want an internet connection in Greece with any company other than the state provider, OTE, you might have to wait as much as three months. That’s how long I waited. The thing is, our telecoms market opened up only recently to competition, so the state provider (OTE) is still the only company that has its own telephone/line network in the country. New companies have emerged which “rent out” lines from OTE to their potential customers, as they still haven’t built their own network. Hungry for customers, they advertise “alternative” networks, trying to fish enough customers out of OTE and help finance their own expansion. So why do people like me opt for these companies anyway? Well, although they are burdened with rental line costs, alternative providers still manage to offer high quality connections at a much cheaper rate than the state telecom. OTE used to be a monopoly for years and, as expected, it overcharged its services so now customers are fleeing to new companies which offer highly competitive prices for a comprehensive package of services.
It took some time (about a couple of years) for OTE’s geniuses to realise what was going on, but when they did, did they lower prices to tempt customers to stay put? Nope. Instead, they just delay delivering the rented lines to the new companies! So my provider, Forthnet, applies for a line rental to OTE and OTE ignores the application for a while, hoping that the customer – me – will get tired of waiting for a connection, thus canceling my application and sticking with OTE.
It took OTE three months to process my application. Yesterday, I finally received a text message on my mobile saying my connection is ready. Today, I’m writing for the first time from my own house, instead of having to migrate to friends’ houses to use the freaking internet. In the 21st century, it took three months to get a simple adsl connection, when in other countries wifi in public areas is almost old news. Unbelievable.