2013-01-14

Economics of Internet access

I am trying to minimise cash expenditure on data, so currently I subscribe to a mobile data top-up package of just 1GB/month. (Failing to top-up my balance would result in forfeiture of all unused credits accumulated in the past.) This package cost MYR 25, putting my incremental cost of Internet access at ~40 MB/MYR.

There are at least two restaurant-cafes with 10 mbps WiFi Internet connections, in the town two kilometres away. A reasonable drink or meal there costs from MYR 4 to MYR 14. So these days, whenever I anticipate Internet usage upwards of 200 MB in a single sitting, I get on my bike, or into my car, and take my gear to town.

I tend to over-order at restaurants, if I get finicky, indulgent, or just bored, and so I generally try to calculate when I can save RM 1-2 and then I ride the bike out - a complimentary benefit in terms of health and entertainment.

For example, this evening I picked up groceries, then had dinner at Cafe A and dessert at Cafe B. Cost of meals, MYR 16.25, data downloaded (5,000+ Wiki pages) 680 MB. About 40 MB/MYR, so a win, since on that accounting I'd get two meals and a social environment to sit in for a while, for free.

As for the time for downloads, weekday afternoons at Cafe B, until 6pm, seem best, following by weekday nights after 10pm. The Cafe B is open at 11am, and closes later than 2am. Cafe A is open at 8am, and closes later than 11:30pm, but is of a prestigious brand, and I am not yet sure how to anticipate traffic there.

3am on a Monday morning. It is now time for a shower, and the second sleep.

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