Over the past few years, the fixed broadband scenario in India has improved significantly. The consumption of high bandwidth services has led to a surge in demand for fibre-based broadband solutions. Further, an extensive fixed broadband network is crucial for achieving the government’s Digital India vision and facilitating the transition to 5G. This opens up growth prospects for broadband service providers such as Spectra, which are witnessing high service uptake. Udit Mehrotra, chief executive officer, Spectra, talks about the evolving fixed broadband market in India, emerging opportunities and the company’s growth strategy…

How has the fixed broadband market ev­­ol­­v­ed in India? What are its key growth drivers?

The fixed broadband market has evolved significantly and that too in a short span of time. It was not so long ago when we were offering 256-512 kbps speeds to residential users and 1-3 Mbps to business customers. Today, we are offering 1 Gbps to both these user segments. However, the market continues to be restricted in terms of service reach owing to challenges associated with fibre roll-out.

In terms of growth drivers, content has emerged as a key factor. The availability of high quality devices with enhanced features has changed the kind of content that is being created and shared. With users increasingly adopting data-heavy content and online services, the need for fixed bro­ad­­band is only going to increase.

How has Spectra’s journey been so far? What is your current service reach and uptake?

Our journey has been very interesting. We have been in the business for almost a decade now. Until recently, we were a business-to-business focused service provider, but now we are an end-to-end fibre broadband and internet service provider. When we started offering fibre services, fibre was very expensive and only businesses could afford it. However, with technology advan­ce­ments, it has become cost effective and is now being used to provide services to residential customers as well.

Our efforts in the past six years have paid off. As per the Netflix index, we are the fastest broadband service provider in India. We have deployed networks with 1 Gbps capacity, not only for our business customers but also for all the residential customers on our network. We have gone ahead and peered with possibly every content provider in India.

We are witnessing an increase in consumption every quarter, as users across segments consume more video content. We believe it is going to get more interesting and exciting in the future.

“With users increasingly adopting data-heavy content and online services, the requirement for fixed broadband is only going to increase.”

What is your strategy to differentiate yourself from other broadband players in the market?     

We have worked really hard to not only become the fastest broadband service pro­vi­­der in India, but to give our consumers services that are at par with global standards. Our entire focus is on making the experience simple for our users. For ins­­ta­n­­ce, we currently offer four pa­ck­age options to our residential and business customers, as compared to the plethora of options offered by various other companies. In another attem­pt at simplicity, we offer unlimited broad­band to our custo­m­ers at extremely affordable prices. Interes­tingly, while ensuring simplicity for users is one of our key differentiating factors, it is not easy to achieve this as a company.

How are increased adoption of 4G and a shift towards 5G likely to impact the fixed broadband market going forward?

Large-scale 4G adoption has been a boon for the fixed broadband market. What starts as a mobile broadband experience for consumers eventually drives them to upgrade their home and business broadband, mostly to fibre-based networks. As for a shift towards 5G, there is already significant talk happening around India being a key participant in this evolution. An extensively deep fibre broadband network will be crucial for 5G roll-outs.

What are your plans for the next few years?

We are an urban-focused service provider, with a presence in Delhi, Noida, Guru­gr­am, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai. Our plan is to rapidly expand our footprint in these cities. Further, we plan to roll out additional network services that are linked to the underlying broadband services that we offer.