After a year of using Excitel Broadband, yesterday, I finally got Airtel Broadband connection installed at my home and I have been using Airtel’s connection ever since.
Even though with Airtel I would be paying Rs. 1,299 a month (excluding taxes) for 24 Mbps connection with 350GB FUP (1000 GB additional data), while I was paying just Rs. 695 a month (excluding taxes) for 50 Mbps connection with no FUP in case of Excitel.
Yet, I feel this is the right decision, and here is why:
Network Reliability: As far as the network goes, Airtel is topnotch. While Excitel has been getting better over the months, they still have plenty of slowdowns and other network issues I had to deal with on a regular basis. In fact, there were more issues with the network in a month while using Excitel than in a year with Airtel!
Last mile connectivity: In case of Excitel, last mile connectivity i.e. connection to your home is provided by a Local Cable Operator (LCO.) From installation to maintaining these lines is his/her responsibility. These guys neither have the trained staff like Airtel does nor the experience and expertise to deal with the serious issue.
My whole locality is supposedly suffering from frequent disconnection for past few weeks. An issue which wasn’t resolved entirely till I stopped using Excitel. In fact, on Saturday when Excitel sent their own technicians to supposedly fix the issue, things actually got works and we were left without a working internet connection for a day or longer! Since then, the issue has supposedly been resolved, so I am facing just 3-4 disconnection in a day and packet loss.
Customer Service: This is one area where Excitel has improved quite a bit over the year. However, they still have a long way to go and since LCO is usually involved in resolving majority of the issues, customer service depends on how good or bad your LCO is, rather than Excitel i.e. there can never be any consistency across the board.
Network Performance: Network performance is good and is getting better over the months and in case you’re using services which have direct peering with Excitel eg. YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix etc. the connectivity is superb. However, the moment you’re accessing websites or services with no direct peering with Excitel, the performance drops, more so during the course of the day and evening, when traffic is high pointing to an oversold network.
Value for money: While it can be argued, for the price, Excitel is really good. Considering the downtime I have been facing for nearly a month, it doesn’t make any economic sense, since most of the evenings I had to rely on my mobile internet connection, instead of Excitel.
The miscellaneous issues: Then there are issues which crop up at one point or the other. At one point they had blocked Google DNS servers, in a bid to force users to use their own DNS. You don’t get any public IP, instead, users are allotted private IPs and then bundled together behind a public IP. There can be arguments made for or against this policy, frankly speaking, I didn’t like it.
In the end, I am glad that I have switched back to Airtel and I am now looking forward to uninterrupted internet access and a major reduction in downtime. Even though I have to pay more every month and I had to cancel Excitel, even though I had recharged my connection 4-5 days ago (most of that time I couldn’t use it properly.)
I sure hope Excitel improves their service and in particular their last mile connectivity, and more than that, I hope Airtel rolls out their fiber service in my colony so that I can end up using a faster connection once again.