Internet in Moscow, 2007-2008

My wife and I arrived to Moscow in the fall of 2007, unsure about whether we would have high speed internet in Moscow.  We were very pleasantly surprised.  We signed up with a company called STRIM, one of the biggest players in Moscow’s very large market.  We found a local office near our metro station (Shchukinskaia) where we signed up and received the basic equipment.  For about $25 / month, we got unlimited high speed DSL and basic interactive cable TV, all through the phone jack in our small Khrushchevka.  We rented the equipment for a few dollars a month, though its also possible to purchase it.  We did not need to involve our landlord at all in setting up the contract with STRIM, and did not need to provide any proof of registration or any other formal documentation.  Customer service was fine, at least on par with what I’ve gotten from Bell Canada.  Otherwise I had no problems with the service.  So in sum, if you’re in Moscow for an extended period of time and can speak Russian, you should be able to get a high speed internet without a problem.

Another option is to sign up for an extensive wireless network, Golden Telecom (www.goldenwifi.ru).  This was not available in our neighborhood.  Many cafes offer wireless in town, but most are quite costly.  My favorite free email spot was an all-you-can-eat restaurant/cafe on the corner of Chistoprudnaia and Pokrovka, not far–by the way–from another favorite, Thai Thai.

And finally, a fairly detailed story only for really dedicated seekers of inexpensive internet access: One night back in March, 2008, I was forced to camp out at Domodedovo airport, and, recalling that Golden Telecom offered 24 hours of internet service for a meager $5, I was determined to take full advantage.  But unfortunately I didn’t have a Golden Telecom card and they’re no longer sold at the airport (I’m sure this is because another phone giant, MTS, has introduced its own wireless network at the airport.  It’s easy to register for and use, but very expensive).  The solution: I used MTS to register an account number with Golden Telecom and then very fortunately found one of those computerized payment devices where one can put money on cell phone accounts that also accepted money for Golden Telecom.  So with the account number I could make the payment, and presto! All night internet.

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September 16, 2008. Living in Russia, Moscow.

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