BENGALURU: ACT (Atria Convergent Technologies) Broadband claims that it is now the largest non-telecom ISP and the fourth largest ISP in the wired broadband category in India with its subscriber base of five lakh that it crossed last month. Only public sector telecom companies BSNL and MTNL and the private sector communications giant Airtel are ahead of ACT, the company claims.
ACT is a triple play service provider which claims a subscriber base of 10 lakh of Fibernet (Internet over fiber optics), digital TV and IPTV consumers. The company is headquartered in Bengaluru and its services are spread over towns and cities of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The company also announced a strategic move in the industry – the launch of its new broadband brand ACT Fibernet. ACT says that its new brand underscores its continued commitment to offer fastest, most consistent and unparalleled internet experience through the scalable technology of fiber optics. The company announced the fastest speed currently provided by any service provider to the retail segment of 60 mbps.
What is remarkable about ACT’s achievement is that, while the top three players and most of the other ISPs in the country have a pan-India presence, ACT has achieved its milestones in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, with Chennai coming under its footprint only last year.
“Over the next two years, we are confident of doubling the broadband subscriber base to 10 lakh,” said ACT managing director Sunder Raju.
“We have been setting benchmarks in the industry since we began six years ago – when the industry in India considered 256 kpbs as broadband, our benchmark was 512 mbps, our new bench mark is going to be 5 mbps to the industry’s 1 mbps,” says ACT Group CEO Bala Malladi. “Right from the beginning, we have been laying fiber optic wires up to the last mile and hence scaling up to 1 gbps with small changes to the existing infrastructure should not be a problem for us in the future,” added Malladi.
“There is ample scope for us to double our subscriber base within our current catchment area, but we will definitely look at bringing other towns and cities under our footprint,” said Malladi.
The company has announced a high decibel marketing campaign with the tagline ‘Incredibly fast’ across print, outdoor, digital, newspaper inserts, handbills, bus shelters, metro pillars, kites, parking boards etc., over the next three months within their catchment areas. Minimum spend is on Television advertising. Company sources revealed that the campaign costs would be in the range of Rs 10 crore. RK Swamy BBDO is the creative agency and RK Swamy Hansa group handles the media buying duties and Madison PR handles public relations.
The company has received funding from India Value Fund Advisers (IVFA) which would be used for doubling the subscriber base, an industry source reveals to www.indiantelevision.com that ACT had invested around Rs 600 crore in the current phase, of which IVFA funding was between Rs 350 crore to Rs 400 crore. Last year, the company had raised privately placed non-convertible debenture (NCD) funding of Rs 180 crore.
“ACT would need funding to the extent of around Rs 500 crore for further expansion. This should not be a problem, considering the fact that ACT has crossed Rs 500 crore in revenue a couple of years ago and has seen operating profits in recent years as compared to many other companies that have been bleeding. The company should be reporting profits in the next two or three years,” says an industry source who works for an MSO and who did not want to be named.
Keeping its current consumers in mind, the brand has upgraded its entire subscriber base in Bengaluru to new fast plans at no extra cost starting 24 July. An ACT broadband consumer confirmed that his fair usage policy has been upgraded to 50 GB from the 40 GB that he enjoyed earlier.