I am now blogging this from the Mission Hospital where I am working.
We have been trying to set up a ViaSat internet system for the hospital and finally have done it! It was not easy though. I have learnt a few things along the way so want to put down a few tips for anyone who is thinking of doing the same ie setting up a internet system for a rural institution. Here are my tips:
- Do your research – get as much information as you can. Understand all the technical jargon used regarding internet use. Compare prices. Your major limiting factor on your choice will be finance. Know exactly what you want. Do a cost-benefit analysis if you have to so that you have a fair idea of all the options from different internet service providers.
- Do your budget and plan – identify your users and plan your budget.
- Choose your internet service provider – use internet service providers with good tract record and trusted history. Make sure your internet service provider has technical back up and warrantee if possible for equipment.
- Get a quote and understand your quote – read carefully each item mentioned and know what they are and their function. If in doubt enquire with your internet service provider and get a good explanation. Demand to talk to a technician if the sales person is not sure or if there is a hint of uncertainty in the sales person’s voice. Read the fine print on your quote. These are usually the terms and conditions.
- Prepare a sales agreement – plan and prepare a sales agreement to be signed between you and the internet service provider. You can send this to the internet service provider and ask for a comment on your points or conditions on the sales agreement. Use this to negotiate the terms and conditions for installing the system.
- Pay for the final quote – use the latest quote and make payment. Fluctuations in exchange rates affects quotes so get the latest and confirm it before making payment.
- Pick up the equipment – have a good storage area ready when the equipment arrives.
- Arrange for the technician to set it up – arrange for the internet service provider to send their technician to set the system up for you. Have a senior person work with technician from Day 1 until he or she returns after setting up the system and testing it. In this way you know exactly what is being done and ask questions if you do not understand anything.
- Prepare for unforseen technical problems – problems will always arise even you think you have covered all angles!
- Test your system – let the technician test your system and make sure you are happy with it before he or she leaves. If you run into problems or not sure of anything, it may take a while and cost you extra expense to bring the technician back.
- Have a sustainability plan– plan how you are going to sustain your internet service in the rural setting. Paying monthy rentals will be a big issue if you do not have major funding partners. Use your new internet service to generate revenue for your institution.
Well, that’s it! I hope this 11 tips help you to make a good choice and plan properly. Like they say – FAILING TO PREPARE IS PREPARING TO FAIL!