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Airtel Launches Broadband TV At Rs 99/Month; Not A Neutral Pipe

Bharti Airtel, in partnership with mobile TV aggregator Apalya, has launched Airtel Broadband TV for its broadband subscribers. As far as we know, this is Apalya’s first wireline broadband deployment, and the first time the company could serve as an alternative to TV (assuming reliable broadband speeds). The service offers 28 live channels, 19 Video-On-Demand channels, and 12 movies.

The service is subscription based, and offers three plans: Gold Pack (all Channels with VOD and movies – Rs 99 per month); Night Pack (All channels with VOD and movies from 9PM to 9AM – Rs 49 per month) and My Pack (Any 3 channels for Rs 49 a month). We’ve published channel details, including information on Video on Demand channels at the end of this post. Note that major entertainment channels like Zee, Sony, Colors and Star are missing, as well as news channels like Aaj Tak, Star News, NDTV and Times Now, among others. The streams will be provided in the browser through Flash 10.2. This means it won’t work on devices such as Apple’s iPad which don’t support Flash.

Neutral Pipe?

Why would users want to pay for TV streaming, when it comes free of any charge on TV network websites, as well as on sites like live.indiatimes.com*? Airtel Broadband TV is getting preferential treatment; according to the Airtel Broadband TV FAQs:

“Yes, you would be able to watch Broadband TV. Your Airtel Broadband connection would be Auto Upgraded for Broadband TV to 1 Mbps to give you a buffer free experience. This feature comes to you completely free of charge.” Additionally, “The bandwidth consumption for watching Broadband TV will not add to your Broadband Plan data usage.”

So while Airtel is giving preferential bandwidth allocation to its subscription based Broadband TV service, and not counting bandwidth consumption (remember that Airtel doesn’t have unlimited broadband – there’s a “fair usage policy” applicable). In comparison, other online live streaming services don’t have that luxury. What we’re not sure of, is whether Broadband TV will get preferential treatment in terms of lower latency as well.

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Note that, for some reason, Airtel Broadband customers in Noida and Punjab don’t get the bandwidth upgrade, and data consumption for them will be counted.


Live TV Channels :

– Entertainment : UTV Bindass, Ne HiFi
– Movie: UTV Movies
– News: Bloomberg UTV, Focus TV, HY TV, India News, Live India
– Infotainment: Discovery, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, TLC, Animal Planet
– Devotional: GOD, Dharm
– Regional: Ne TV, Ne Bangla, Sakshi TV, OTV, Tarang, Tarang Music, JAi Hind, Jeevan, Suvarna News, Hamar TV, Vasanth TV, Sri Sankara TV

VOD Services:

– Entertainment: Mobile Multiplex, Oolala, Chillout, Darpan, Bollywood Backstage, BollywoodJoint, Big Digital Bhakti, Big Digital Celeb, Big Digital Jokes, Mumbai Masala, Zapper TV
– Infotainment: Bhavishvani, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Crime, Nat Geo Science, Nat Geo Wildfire
– Kids: Bambam Girpadehum, Cartoon Netwok’s Fruit Basket
– Devotional: Bhakti Sangeeth

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Airtel Broadband Doesn’t Want To Be A Dumb Pipe
How Airtel Defines Unlimited

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