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YOU Broadband: Wide array of triple-play services

June 26, 2015
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Surging data usage and broadband subscriptions have resulted in a paradigm shift in the Indian internet space. This, in turn, has opened new doors of opportunities for regional internet service providers (ISP), which are drawing up plans to enhance their profitability and scope of business. One such company is YOU Broadband, which, in recent years has emerged as a leading player in the broadband market, particularly in Tier I cities.

The company has put in place a robust infrastructure to provide customers with high speed round-the-clock broadband services. At present, YOU Broadband’s network comprises over 3,000 km of optic fibre cable and 6,000 km of last mile coaxial cable. It has invested over Rs 4 billion in building broadband cable infrastructure across 13 cities so far.

Operations and services

YOU Broadband was set up in 2001 by British Gas as Iqara Broadband. Later, in 2006, Citigroup Venture Capital International bought a majority stake in the company. A Category A internet service provider (ISP), YOU also has an infrastructure provider Category I (IP-I) licence, which permits it to lease its passive network infrastructure to other service providers.

A triple-play service provider, YOU Broadband offers high-speed internet, voice and video services through the cable modem platform to residential, corporate, and small and medium enterprise customers. Besides, the company offers a host of value-added services (VAS) to its broadband customers. Its popular VAS offerings include YOU Play (an online gaming service with over 100 new games being added to its product portfolio every month; with the content provided by Indiagames, Kreeda Games, etc.); YOU Learn (an online education service for school and college students powered by 24x7 Guru); YOU Call (internet telephony offering international calling at low rates); and YOU Fone (ISD calls through broadband connections).

Another key focus area for YOU Broadband is the fast growing enterprise segment. The company offers enterprises a wide range of connectivity and system integration solutions such as high speed internet, bandwidth on demand, data storage and security, co-location services and internet telephony. Reinforcing its focus on the enterprise segment, YOU Broadband has formed alliances with various security solutions and data storage companies for providing enterprises with a comprehensive array of services and support systems. For security-led solutions, the company has partnered with organisations such as Trend Micro, RSA Security, Watchguard, Cisco, Array Networks and Fortinet. In the data storage space, it has tied up with players like Tandberg Data, EMC, NetApp and Dell.

Currently, the company offers services in 13 cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Powai, Pune, Surat, Thane, Vadodara and Visakhapatnam.

Competitive edge

In the highly competitive broadband space, YOU Broadband has distinguished itself from its competitors by offering value-for-money services to customers. For example, in December 2014, it launched a pilot project to provide broadband connectivity at a speed of 100 Mbps in Mumbai, Pune, Vadodara, Bengaluru and Chennai. Initially, the service was offered on a trial basis to about 250 customers across these five cities. Following the completion of the trials, YOU Broadband is reportedly offering 200 GB of data usage for Rs 1,699 per month under the What the Fun 100 plan to customers in select cities.

In July 2014, the company partnered with Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited for introducing Wi-Fi services at all its metro stations in the city. Commuters can access free Wi-Fi services for the first 15 minutes, following which they can purchase Wi-Fi coupons priced at Rs 100 to continue using internet services. The coupons, which are available at customer care centres at metro stations, offer internet access for three hours.

Challenges and future outlook

Despite having created a niche for itself in the broadband space, YOU Broadband continues to face stiff competition from leading ISPs such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Bharti Airtel, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited and Sify Technologies. All these players have a strong nationwide footprint and a robust infrastructure in place to deliver cost-effective services to customers. YOU Broadband also faces competition from younger counterparts such as Spectranet and ACT Fibernet, which command significant customer share in regional markets and have ambitious pan-Indian expansion plans.

Going forward, YOU Broadband will need to continue offering innovative services to customers at affordable prices. At the same time, it will have to explore inorganic growth opportunities through potential acquisitions in order to remain competitive in the fragmented broadband market.

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