There are several problems with this. First of all, this goes against the principles of network neutrality. Airtel needs to stop tinkering around with web services. We have seen them offering higher speeds specifically on YouTube for the IPL broadcast. Airtel Movies is another service that sort of goes against network neutrality philosophy.
The other problem is logic. Airtel has no truly unlimited plans above 256kbps. All of their so called unlimited plans have a fair usage policy. So basically, users have a set limit ranging from 4GB per month to 150GB per month. After that their speeds are dropped down to 256kbps. This alone makes it a sheer stupidity on their part to throttle torrent based downloads.
The company officially would not comment on it of course. The only thing we get out of them is that they do not do anything and their speed claims are restricted to their own servers. We hope that sanity would prevail in the end and the company would allow a throttle free internet experience to their customers in the future.
Business Standard did an article on the fair usage policy problem that is spreading like a plague in the country.
airtel Broadband remains one of the biggest supports of this policy. A company representative has been quoted as saying:
Our data shows that over 80 per cent of our customers use less than 5 GB every month. What it means is that such limits are more than enough for the large majority of consumers. An average customer on our network uses eight-10 GBs in an unlimited plan, the limit is in form of speed reduction and not data transfer, which incidentally has no cap.
There are a couple of issues here…
airtel seems to be unable to handle the load caused by less than 20% of their customers. If i remember correctly, this figure used to be less than 5%. Not sure when they decided to bump it to less than 20%.
In any case, the company does not respond to one simple question. Do you want to cater to the less than 20% of the user base who are affected by fair usage policy?
If yes, what are they planning to offer them besides the 256kbps speeds which they already have on offer?
I am yet to get a solid response to my proposal based on the Hayai Theory. Let the user prepay for bandwidth. Let him decide how much he wants to use. Let him buy bandwidth in bulk at reasonable prices.
We have good reasons to believe that bandwidth costing for a company like airtel does not come to more than 2-3 rupees per GB. Even if we add in other expenses… There is no reason why they cannot sell it in bulk for around 10 bucks per GB.
The company claims that the launch of 3G on their network would bring about a broadband revolution in the country.
The same company has utterly failed to do anything with their wired broadband services. 256Kbps is what they believe broadband is.
3G is not going to change anything. Prices are going to be high. Unlimited plans are likely to be out of reach for most of us. And they are likely to feature the famous Airtel Fair Usage Policy.
This PR bullshit is getting crazy. Airtel would do good by fixing the mess they have created on their ‘actual’ broadband services. Get rid of FUP. Launch some exciting pure unlimited plans at competitive prices. Get some shit done. Please.
I specifically talk about this particular piece because I was one of the guys contacted to give the consumer’s point of view.
We did the best we could and it turned out pretty well. The article does not really go into much detail but that was too much to ask.
It does sort of does justice to our point of view. Nothing is expected to change in the end. Telecom giants have too much influence on the relevant people and they are not going to change their position on this matter at all.
A new player would have to arrive in the market to change the entire scene and mindset. Reliance did that to mobile services market… Hayai ‘could’ do it to the broadband sector.
But the fight continues! :)
Holy cow. It is a pretty huge article in the newspaper itself!
Hah. Just realized that they did not do take on Airtel as I was expected. They took on Tata Broadband instead… Editing title of the post.
I have been a big fan of Airtel Broadband services for years now. It was the first ISP I truly liked after struggling with cable internet service providers. And it was the reason I migrated from Chandigarh to Gurgaon. Sify Broadband was a pain to deal with and Airtel was almost magical in comparison.
Things have however changed a lot in the last couple of months. The introduction of Fair Usage Policy has pretty much resulted in disappearance of all the goodwill generated by the its customer base for the company.