Field Trip To Flow Curacao: Part Two

Yesterday we got invited to visit the Flow Curacao offices and to have a chat with Ian Serrao, vice-president and general manager of the company. We got to test some equipment, take some pictures, see the package prices and availability and get some very interesting information…and of course, you get to read it here first.

Before I get to the info, let me just take the time to say that it was very refreshing to see a company that is so open, so transparent and so willing to help its customers. We’re not used to that here on the island and it definitely was a very pleasant surprise.

With that said, let’s get to the nitty-gritty…

So the rumors are true? Columbus/Flow is here?
Yes, it’s no secret that Columbus is here on Curacao and that they are planning to offer Internet services (amongst other things) here on the island. The papers have written about it, people have seen the cables being pulled on the poles and we’ve gotten plenty of tips and emails about it.

But here’s the deal. Last year, Columbus bought Curacao Cable Television. They kept the CCT employees, kept their building but they came with their own equipment. All of the existing cables and infrastructure are being replaced. They proceeded to hire local workers (with the help of employment agencies and ‘Ban Bario Bek’) and began to train them and test their products. Now the company is ready to launch, under the name of ‘Flow Curacao’ and they are going to start by offering residential and ‘business’ broadband.

When are they launching?
Well, they technically launched today. If you’re living in the Dominguito/Anasaweg/Mamayaweg/Carawaraweg area, you might have gotten a visit from Flow Curacao today. Their representatives have started to visit houses in this area to inform people of their packages and to give people the chance to sign up.

I don’t live in that area. When do I get the chance to sign up?
Soon. Very soon. They chose a ‘small’ area to begin with, mainly to avoid waiting lists and also to give their new staff some time to perfect the new skills they have learned. The company wants to quickly install their hardware for customers who want to sign up, without having to make them wait. After three weeks they hope to start offering their services in other neighborhoods and areas. Service will eventually be available across the entire island, but Flow will be starting with a smaller area and branching out, without creating waiting lists and frustrating customers.

Stop stalling. Tell me about those packages and services already!
Well, right now, Flow Curacao is going to start with Internet services. There are other stuff on the way, but you’ll read about them in due time. As for that Internet, they’ll be starting with residential and (small) business packages.

I’m losing it. Just tell me about the prices and speeds!
Okay….here you go…

* These prices and contract lengths were last updated in April 2012

Residential Packages

Packages
Download Speed
Upload Speed Price with open contract Price with 1 year contract
Residential 1 5 Mbps 1 Mbps Naf.79,99 Naf. 71,99
Residential 2 15 Mbps 3 Mbps Naf. 129,99 Naf. 99,99
Residential 3 25 Mbps 5 Mbps Naf. 199,99 Naf. 179,99
Residential 4 50 Mbps 5 Mbps Naf. 299,99 Naf. 269,99
Residential 5 100 Mbps 5 Mbps Naf. 399,99 Naf. 359,99

* Prices per month. Prices do not include 5% service tax

Business

Packages Download Speed Upload Speed Price with 1-year contract Price with 2-year contract
Business 1 5 Mbps 3 Mbps Naf. 179,99 Naf. 161,99
Business 2 10 Mbps 4 Mbps Naf. 229,99 Naf. 206,99
Business 3 15 Mbps 5 Mbps Naf. 249,99 Naf. 224,99

* Prices per month. Prices do not include 5% service tax

There are no modem fees, the set up is free and you have a 30-day money back guarantee. Yes, you read that right. A 30-day money back guarantee.

Those business packages are intended for small businesses and will come with three static IP addresses, but there will be appropriate packages for big business as well, so worry not.

100 MB?? Are you kidding me? Can they handle that traffic? What will happen in peak hours?
I tested the 100MB myself and trust me, it was damn fast. Speed tests consistently showed 100 MB down, but I can understand that you’re skeptical when it comes to heavy usage, especially in peak hours. Well, worry not. The company assured me that they have sufficient bandwidth and that Curacao is one of their best connected islands. According to them, they have implemented ‘bleeding edge’ technology in Curacao and have chosen the best products form leading manufacturers.

We should not experience any connection issues and with regard to ‘peak hours’, check this out. As soon as they see that 50% of their capacity is reached in a peak hour, they’ll order more bandwidth. That’s the rule. That’s how it works. Bam. Problem solved. Let’s move on kids…

Okay, I’m sold. Give me their contact information so that I can start begging for a connection!
Phone number: 747-6373
Email: getflow@columbuscuracao.com
Email: sales@columbuscuracao.com
Website: www.flowcuracao.com

But hold on there. Remember what we said earlier. They’re starting with that Dominguito area first and then branching out to other areas. If you start calling or emailing now, you won’t get hooked up. The call center will take your call and will happily give you any info you want, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks before they start hooking other neighborhoods up.

Oh, and if you are testing or have been hooked up already, Flow Curacao will be happy to hear feedback. They stressed how important customers are to them and clearly put a lot of emphasis on customer service and satisfaction. The result is that they are open to feedback and willing to go the extra mile for their clients. “Everyone makes mistakes”, said Serrao. “The point is to learn from your mistakes and to correct them immediately”.

So, if you guys have any questions, comments or feedback, you can mail them to Flow Curacao or communicate them through me or through this website.

Bonus question
Reader ‘Pman’ left this comment on yesterday’s story…

Just a question, maybe someone from Flow can respond…
I think it’s great that Flow will offer a connection with 100mbit down speed, but why ‘only’ have 2mbit upload speed?
I don’t want to complain or anything, just curious… Personally, I would be more interested in a connection with 50mbit down and 5-10 mbit up speed.

I asked Ian about it and this is what he had to say:

Based upon our field experience with over 150,000 high-speed customers in other countries, 2Mb/s has been satisfactory to this point. However, as the Curacao market develops its needs may be different and we’ll adjust our product offering based on customer feedback.

He also added that you can discuss your upload needs in the comments, or send them to me via e-mail, so that they can keep it mind for future adjustments.

Picture time!
Below you will find the pictures of the ‘Arris WBM760’ modem that they’ll be using and screenshots of the 5 MB, 25 MB and 100 MB connections. I showed the 100 MB screen shot yesterday and explained about the 75 MB result. They were adjusting some settings right as I took that test, but I saw other tests that hit a 100 MB just fine.

(click on image for larger view)

Modem top

Flow Curacao Arris modem top

Modem front

Flow Curacao Arris modem front

Modem front

Flow Curacao Arris modem front

Modem back

Flow Curacao Arris modem back

5 MB speed test

Flow Curacao 5MB

25 MB speed test

Flow 25 MB

100 MB speed test

Flow 100 MB

 


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