Excitel – Enabling Availability of Affordable Fiber in India

Vivek Raina is the Co-Founder & CEO for Excitel

With the help of delivering great customer service and experience for consumers, Excitel has emerged as a great winner in the Fiber access space.

The company has created a niche for itself as a preferred operator targeting under-served pockets of cities such as Delhi NCR, Lucknow Bangalore, Hyderabad etc. Keeping its focus on enabling availability of affordable Fiber, the company is now set to further expand its footprint in India.   

Vivek Raina, Co-Founder & CEO, Excitel speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s current focus and its future plans.

What are the key priorities for Excitel today?

The key priority of Excitel today is to deploy high speed FTTH (Fiber to home) networks across various cities and towns of the country. We want to bring fiber to the homes of millions of middle class Indians at an affordable price and usher in real digital inclusion by giving them access to high speed broadband, which prior to us was available only in affluent pockets of the country.

How is the company looking at providing affordable connectivity to underserved markets?

With our focus on FTTH (Fiber to home), and our unique business model we are able to go to the parts of cities and towns in the country which were till now unserved by traditional Telcos/ISPs as these were considered low ARPU areas.

We are committed and focused on serving such territories with best in class high speed broadband at an affordable price, such areas cover at least 70% of our cities and people living there also deserve to have access to high speed wireline services.

Please share details on your network footprint in India and what are your plans to expand your network here? What are your investment plans here?

We are currently having our services in Delhi NCR, Jaipur, Kanpur, Lucknow , Hyderabad, Bangalore. We want to now focus on smaller cities and towns and have our services in at least 50 of them by the end of 2021.

Please share details on your connectivity offerings for Home / residential as well as business/enterprise customers?

We are focussed on the Home segment alone and do not offer any business or bulk bandwidth services at present. Our basic Home offering on FTTH has 100 Mbps speed with unlimited download limit. It is pertinent to note that all our packages come without any kind of restriction on download limits and the speed remains consistent irrespective of usage.

Today India has gone through a revolution in connectivity wherein operators like Jio, ACT fiber, and Airtel are offering great options and hold massive market share. How do you differentiate in this market scenario?

The players that you mention are currently offering services in select pockets of cities that they exist in. Traditionally their focus has remained consistently on high ARPU markets i.e more affluent areas of the cities they function in. This leaves areas where at least 75% of the population of any city in India live, without any decent wireline coverage.

These are middle class or lower middle class areas and traditional players have no presence there but the need for high speed wireline broadband there is as much as anywhere else. This creates massive digital exclusion and this is the vacuum that Excitel is trying to fill in. We go to all such areas with our affordable yet world class FTTH services and try to bridge the digital divide.

How do you look at the ongoing surge in WFH activities? What has been your experience for demand amid the COVID19 pandemic?

With COVID19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown there was massive surge in WFH (work from home) and also Study From Home or communicating with our near and dear ones or entertaining ourselves while at home, for all such bandwidth intensive applications mobile internet was and never will be enough and need of having a proper wireline broadband connection was felt by one and all.

This led to a surge in demand with people wanting to upgrade from their inadequate mobile broadband connections to a proper wireline connection. We at Excitel are experiencing a consistent increase in demand of around 30% compared to pre COVID19 days.

Are there specific plans that you are offering keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic?

Yes, we have launched plans specifically targeted at WFH (work from home) users, this plan like all Excitel plans is truly unlimited with no data limits or FUP and gives consistent 100 Mbps speed per month, irrespective of the amount of data consumed, with three months of prepayment this plan gives one month free.

What kind of challenges are you facing in this market? How do you plan to overcome these challenges?

The biggest challenge during these times is to ensure safety of our employees who despite restrictions and threat of infection are on the forefront of serving society.

We realise how important broadband is for people in these times and therefore to keep our services up and getting broadband to people who need it most is pertinent.

In doing so we need to take care of our employees and partners and we are doing so by providing masks and sanitizers to all our staff in ample quantity and also constantly training them to maintain distance while at work and thus keeping themselves and others safe.