Friday, 19 December 2008

Belgacom Regime

If you thought BELGACOM is the telecom leader in Belgium, you were wrong. They are indeed the "largest", but definitely not the leaders. Leaders lead by giving example to others. They are in fact, the "largest dictators" of telecommunications in Belgium.

According to INTERNET WORLD STATS "The incumbent, Belgacom, is gradually losing market share in the telephone market as cable TV companies and other providers offer VoIP and mobile services to their traditional pay TV and broadband packages."

The fact that they are loosing marketshare is a very positive sign in a small concentrated market dominated by one big operator. But still, there is a long way to go.

Recently a new italian company opened offices in my building, in the heart of the European quartier. The first thing they did, after buying an office in the second flood, they called to BELGACOM (big mistake) and requested a telephone and ADSL internet connection (DAY 1).

On day 30, they knock on the door of my office begging to let them access to our WIRELESS networks so they could have access to the outter world until BELGACOM graced connection to the new established company. I agreed instantly, and without charging any cost to our new neighbours, knowing exactly what was going on with Belgacom.

On day 60, finally, the technician of Belgacom came to connect and activate the phone and internet connection to this new company. Yet, another practice against the competence appeared, the guy from Belgacom did not wanted to activate the phone lines (and therefore the ADSL) because this new company wanted to use an own telephone switchboard that they bought in Italy. The guy from Belgacom said something like....if you do not rent a switchboard from belgacom, I cannot activate the internet. And the guy left, leaving the company, with three employees, without connection to anything.


DAY 65. Finally the new company agreed to rent the belgacom swithboard (with the extra cost this means for the company) because basically they had no options:
-The competence would need 60 days more to install connection
-They lost so much TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY already.

It was not worth it.

This is the game of BELGACOM for proffessional customers.

In the case of my office, we have had the same ADSL connection for more than 4 years. During that time, BELGACOM has never reduced the price, increased the speed of connections, or improved the quality of service. Trying to change operator would mean taking the risk of not having internet for many days. We cannot afford this, so we follow our leader, BELGACOM.

Thursday, 18 December 2008


IRIS 2 is the new Regional Plan for Mobility

It is an strategic plan for mobility, it covers the period 2015-2020. Its objective is to make Brussels city more accessible, improving quality of life, reducing traffic jams (at least 20%) and reduce CO2 emissions. This is a very nice and idealistic approach.

They made a public survey to get feedback from people living in Brussels and its sorroundings. This is a very good thing.

I read some parts of the document, which can be downloaded from the website, and the plan is really something that results difficult to believe when I look at the streets of Brussels now, or whent I take the public transport.

To the people resposible of IRIS2, I wish you all the best and very good luck in your travel to Neverland.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


I Have created my profile in FACEBOOK.

I have also created the facebook group SERVICE IN BRUSSELS

Smart Spectra's Facebook Profile

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Taking a taxi in Brussels can be an adventure sometimes.
I have to say firstly that most of the times I use taxis in Brussels I have had no problems, but I want tou provide some advice as well as some interesting information about taxis that you should be aware.

The first difference between taxis in brussels and anywhere else is that you normally have to take them in the TAXI STOPS around the city, or call them through a phone call so they go to pick you up.
In other words, it is very unlikely that a taxidriver will stop in front of you in the middle of the street if you need him. Sometimes I see people waiting for a taxi in the street for several minutes without success, and no taxis are passing though or all of them are already busy.

Having in mind the above specificity of taxis in Brussels, what you need to know is the following:

The rates applicable in the Brussels-Capital Region
! New tariffs on 10/03/2008

Pick-up charge: € 2,40

Rate I (within the 19 communes of the Brussels-Capital Region): 1,35/km

Rate II (outside the 19 communes):2,70/km

Waiting fee :25,00 per hour (1)

Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. customers are charged a flat rate supplement of € 2,00 (the taximeter is fitted with a clock-calendar that registers this flat-rate supplement automatically).

(1) Waiting time: the taximeter automatically switches to waiting time if the tax is driving at less than 20 km/h, for example in traffic jams, at red lights, etc.

(2) Rates above include VAT

These rates are normally visible inside the taxi, like the picture below:

More things to have in mind. In case of complaints, the Ministry has made available forms online that you can fill in. Of course, you should memorize some details about the taxi, i.e. LICENSE NUMBER, and driver name which should be always visible.


I have taken the rule of taking note of this information after I seat in the taxi, because you never know if you will have the chance later. Complains can be about speed, driving style, extra tours, etc....What is actually important here is that the Ministry of Brussels has open an easy door for users to send complaints. Now the ball is on your side, and it depends on you to change things. If you have any trouble, you have to speak up and complain, otherwise things will keep the same.