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Excitel CEO Vivek Raina on the broadband business, Net Neutrality, and COVID-19

On June 10, we interviewed Vivek Raina, CEO of Excitel Broadband, on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fixed line broadband business, the ISP market, and Net Neutrality. An edited transcript of that interview follows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSyXtOkILqA MediaNama: How has the pandemic affected your business and your network? How have new subscribers been coming up? There were multiple stages and layers to the pandemic. There was one stage when it started to hit us that something was going to happen. The pandemic had not started in the real sense, but we knew that a lockdown or instability was going to come. And people began to realise the enormity of the situation. Many companies had already told their employees to work from home, mostly tech companies. There was a huge surge in demand at that time, two times the normal demand. We installed twice the number of connections that we normally install. People have realised that as soon as they have to work from home, mobile broadband is not good enough for data intensive applications to work from home. For example, this conversation that we're having right now cannot be done with mobile broadband — you need proper wireline broadband. When you stay more at home, you obviously consume more entertainment, and that also cannot be supported on mobile internet. And neither can classes for schools that went online. The demand of wireline broadband started increasing even before the lockdown was announced. When the lockdown was announced, we were grappling…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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