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YOU Broadband & Cable: Creating a niche for itself

December 31, 2012
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In the past few years, the demand for data and broadband services has grown steadily. This surge in demand has opened up opportunities for internet service providers (ISPs) like YOU Broadband & Cable India Limited, a relatively small player in a fiercely competitive space that is dominated by companies like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. Despite stiff competition, which is likely to intensify further when Reliance Industries-owned Infotel Broadband launches services, YOU Broadband has managed to create a niche for itself. It has built a relatively strong presence in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities by offering highly flexible, affordable and customised broadband packages. In addition, it has been focusing on the more lucrative enterprise segment, where it offers high speed internet connectivity and IT security solutions.

Company background

YOU Broadband was set up in 2001 by British Gas as Iqara Broadband. In 2006,  Citigroup Venture Capital International bought a majority stake in the company.

A Category (A) independent ISP, YOU also has an infrastructure provider Category I (IP-I) licence that permits it to lease its passive network infrastructure to other service providers.

Currently, it offers high speed internet, voice and video services through the cable modem platform to residential, small and medium enterprise (SME), and corporate customers. The company’s cable network infrastructure simultaneously supports broadband internet, cable TV and voice communication.

So far, YOU Broadband has a presence in 13 cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru,

Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Powai, Pune, Surat, Thane, Vadodara and Visakhapatnam. As a part of its growth plans, the company intends to rapidly expand its presence in other cities across the country.

Infrastructure and services

The company’s network comprises over 1,155 km of optic fibre cable and 4,000 km of last mile coaxial cable. It has so far invested over Rs 4 billion in building broadband cable infrastructure across the country. The network has been rolled out  through partnerships with companies like Motorola, Avaya, Commscope and Cisco. Today, YOU Broadband has over 1,400 employees across these 13 cities.

The company’s business comprises broadband, internet telephony services, web hosting products and online value-added services (VAS). It was the first ISP to introduce 2 Mbps plans, in 2007, following a government proposal to make it mandatory for all ISPs to provide internet services at a minimum speed of 2 Mbps by 2015.

The company, in partnership with Web Hosting Products BigRock, offers web hosting solutions including domain name registration, email hosting, website hosting, website design and builder tools, and digital certificates. It also offers VAS like YOU Play and YOU Learn as well as Wi-Fi broadband.

Further, the company provides data storage and security services. It specialises in IT security audits, IT security policy design, and vulnerability and risk management services. In the data storage segment, the ISP provides end-to-end storage/server solutions to clients. It also offers solutions like file system and volume management, backup management, and clustering and disaster recovery. Moreover, the company, in association with SingTel, provides IP virtual private network and international private leased circuit international connectivity solutions to enterprises.

Focus on enterprise

The company’s enterprise division offers a comprehensive range of connectivity and system integration solutions. Its products and solutions primarily cater to four enterprise segments: small office home office (SOHO), SMEs, internet services, and system integration and international connectivity. The SOHO services include high speed internet plans, VoIP as well as antivirus and antispam solutions. As part of the internet services, the ISP provides server co-location facilities in Mumbai, Surat and Ahmedabad. To meet the faster data transfer needs of its corporate clients, YOU Broadband offers dedicated leased line services with speeds ranging from 512 kbps up to 10 Mbps.

Challenges and the way forward

The company has been able to sustain its internet subscriber market share in the past four years. Its cable TV business has meanwhile grown through the acquisition of various multiservice operators. The company stands to benefit from the synergies of bundling broadband and cable services, resulting in higher revenues and economies of scale. YOU Broadband is also among the few ISPs providing triple-play services – broadband, VoIP and digital cable TV services.

In 2008, YOU Broadband acquired a strategic stake in Digital Outsourcing Private Limited, its associate company involved in the cable TV distribution business. Over the last few years, YOU Broadband has strengthened its position in the market through the acquisition of multisystem operators and local cable operators (LCOs). To increase its market share in the broadband space and compete with companies like Hathway and Den Networks, YOU Broadband needs to expand its reach by entering more markets and increasing its brand value.

YOU Broadband’s growth plans include expanding its primary subscriber base by acquiring LCOs. It will also provide opportunities for cross-selling its broadband offerings.

 

 
 
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