Nextra Teleservices came into existence in 2012 when Nikhil Bansal, who returned to India after finishing his graduation in electronics and communications from Purdue University in the US, came face to face with disappointing Internet speeds in the country. The very same disappointment became his driving force and today, Nextra Teleservices is a premium segment Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the Delhi-NCR region with 200 employees. And its president, entrepreneur Nikhil Bansal, is dreaming big, strategizing to grow into a pan-India player. He is looking to raise Rs 200 crore in venture capital to expand operations. In a chat with Voice&Data, Bansal elaborates on Nextra and road ahead for ISPs like him. Excerpts:
Voice&Data: Tell us a little about Nextra Teleservices, and its customer base in India market in retail as well as enterprise segment?
Nikhil Bansal: We currently operate in Delhi-NCR region for both – home broadband and enterprise segment. In our home broadband segment, at this point, we have 50000+ customers on our network and about 600 enterprise customers spanning hospitality, real estate and businesses campuses. We are focused on small and medium enterprise (SME) segment and committed to grow our customer base. In the foreseeable future, we are preparing to venture in the neighboring states of Rajasthan and Haryana and cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Voice&Data: What is the range of services Nextra offers? Please elaborate.
Nikhil Bansal: So, in the Nextra Broadband (Home) segment we offer ultra-high speed broadband services, and plan to offer a wide portfolio of enriching VAS and applications. Home Broadband services, are offered over Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and Fiber to the Neighbourhood (FTTN) networks at speeds starting 10 Mbps and soaring all the way to 100 Mbps. Choices are available at 15 Mbps, 20 Mbps and 50 Mbps also. Besides, as a unique proposition, our broadband services are offered over “Symmetric Speed”. So, when we say 10 Mbps – it is 10 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed. This is exactly what our customers need for uploading videos, photos and files transfers.
In the enterprise segment we have Nextra Smart ILL (Internet Leased Line), which is our trademark product in the market. It enables our corporate customers to optimize and manage bandwidth usage in the Internet Leased Line (ILL) by blocking unproductive traffic and/ or prioritizing mission critical applications. It also gives a graphical report of the network usage by protocol, application, URL etc. and comes with the tools to manage, prioritize & optimize the bandwidth usage
Voice&Data: How exactly do you enable your customers to optimize bandwidth usage?
Nikhil Bansal: Internet Leased Lines (ILL) are invariably offered as commoditized dumb pipes, like ‘n’ Mbps Internet Leased Line with 1:1 symmetric speeds and uptime SLAs which ranges from 98-99.99% depending on different service/ value offerings by the ISPs.
At Nextra, we demonstrate the customer’s current bandwidth consumption pattern on their existing ISP set up and advise them on the optimum bandwidth utilization through our team of ‘Bandwidth Consultants’.
Nextra’s robust and proven ‘Smart ILL’ offering enables our customers to optimize and manage bandwidth by blocking unproductive traffic and prioritizing mission critical applications. For example, a customer may wish to block movie download/ torrent applications, and/ or give higher priority to video conferencing traffic and/ or block specific sites and it is 100% hack proof. Firewalls and/ or URL blocking tools that businesses usually deploy, are not as effective as ‘Nextra Smart ILL’ when it comes to bandwidth management. Firewalls are not fool-proof and can be by-passed by users. Firewalls also cannot prioritize traffic, these can at best sub-optimally tunnelize some IP based traffic into smaller fixed pipes. Nextra product offering is an efficient solution for the purpose.
Instead of the conventional approach of goading customers to increase pipe size Nextra has taken the innovative approach of enabling customers in optimizing bandwidth usage.
Voice&Data: What kind of growth trajectory has the company seen since inception and what is the outlook?
Nikhil Bansal: We at Nextra strongly believe in providing seamless quality service to our customers without compromising on the quality of network/ infrastructure, while parallely keeping a keen eye on the ARPU to enable us deliver the same. This approach has given us 100 percent growth over last year clocking over Rs 5 crore in revenues. We are growing from strength-to-strength and are now working on expanding operations and raising venture capital for the same.
Voice&Data: What are the broadband trends you see in India market and how can ISPs leverage these?
Nikhil Bansal: With the advent of technology, the everyday chores are getting more and more internet/ app dependent thereby hooking the customers to internet for almost all the activities. Therefore, the demand for good seamless internet connectivity is increasing with each passing day. Though there are more than 300 registered ISPs in India catering to about 16 million wired broadband subscribers, still there is a dire demand for a value/ service driven set up offering seamless internet connectivity to the bandwidth hungry consumers. We at Nextra strive to deliver world-class innovation-based service to our customers enabling them to increase their efficiency. We at Nextra believe that in a competitive world, the faster you get data, the faster you can beat your competition.
Going ahead an ISP cannot just be a dumb pipe. We are building a content repository for our customers, which right now is available free of additional charge for all our customers. Innovation in services enriching the lives of our customers will rule, of course. In the long run, just the basic internet service will not survive. In order to sustain, ISPs would have to provide bundled services with basic internet so as to retain the customers and overtake competition. The value added service (VAS) market is on expansion and ISPs have to make sure and enable their customers to take advantage of the same.
We are also looking at deploying WiFi networks. Nextra Teleservices has selectively deployed WiFi networks in common areas of residential complexes, market places and campuses to supplement the core fibre broadband services.
- By Nandita Singh