How Indian ISP OIL managed network and business during coronavirus

Yugal Kishore Sharma, CEO of ONEOTT iNTERTAINMENT, has revealed how the Internet Service Provider has prepared its network and business teams to manage the ongoing crisis due to coronavirus epidemic.
Coronavirus ChinaVideo is the obvious ruler in data consumption and the margin has further increased as traffic surged due to heavy office applications along with larger dispersed teams now working from home due to COVID-19.

Video streaming subscriptions have also crossed the number of traditional cable subscriptions in India. Some of the largest OTT players like Netflix, Amazon, MX Player, HotStar, others have been seeding the market for the last 2 to 3 years and the same has now paid-off.

However, there was no commercial model existing with Amazon wherein they were bundling their services free with such target audience through various Telecom Service Providers catering to SEC A to SEC B+ Post Paid customers.

The lockdown has resulted into demand for wired broadband connectivity for homes bundled with OTT subscriptions of INR 999 a year from Amazon.

This short period has already resulted in a spurt in OTT subscriptions and some of them have already reported a 20 percent increase in viewership, majorly coming in from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, the drivers of the Indian economy. These cities have a wired Internet availability due to presence of players like OIL and a few others aiding to growth in OTT subscriptions.

There will be a surge in demand for more regional language content as newer audiences are now on-boarding to these platforms.

We had envisioned people’s homes solely being powered by internet and entertainment being consumed on multiple devices and applications through ONE WIRE powered by ONE CPE for ONE FAMILY – iNTERTAINMENT.

OIL’s technical and engineering Teams found it difficult to commute on public transport or use their own vehicles. Above all, by the time the Police Authorities themselves had cleared passes, public and private transport had almost been stopped or curbed. We had to hire dedicated private vehicles with laid down guidelines of using only and only “On Duty for Essential Service under category name “Internet Services”.

We were hit by yet another challenge, wherein, most of the societies and RWAs where OIL’s network access nodes are located, denied entry to our field technical teams and, this impacted our overall network availability and service assurance.

We had a major blow coming in wherein the premises where our contact center for voice and web support services was based out of had to be locked down.

OIL’s customer care and services delivery and services assurance team innovatively pondered over the question that if OIL’s care executives cannot come to a common office then can we get the infrastructure to every executive’s homes?

OIL enabled its care executives to operate from their home on the fifth day after closing down OIL’s contact center. OIL team operated through Web and SMS support only in the first four days of the closure of contact center.

OIL provided desktop terminals, headphones and other support infra at their homes and these were powered by the Call Center’s centrally managed ContactCenter software, centrally.

The lockdown brought huge spikes in internet traffic across all our cities due to the transition in regular home internet usage. We appropriately planned to immediately upgrade our Upstream Internet bandwidth to meet this sudden increase in demand.

On the backhaul side, we have our own in-house city-wide-coverage-capacity which we planned by upgrading our fiber networks in advance. In the access side, we have added capacities. We have upgraded our 10 Gbps redundant alternate route capacities to 40 Gbps for ensuring that there is no bottleneck or choking points due to disproportionate usage at the access network layer.

We are confident of ensuring connectivity to our customers, even with scaled down operations and are dealing with this crisis with our ability to innovate and redefine customer facing processes. To support our subscribers who are working from home, our Fiber to the Home customers, can choose to double their speed at a nominal amount via online channels to meet their increased bandwidth requirements.

Yugal Kishore Sharma, CEO of ONEOTT iNTERTAINMENT