Did Airtel Increase The Fair Usage Policy Limits?

Ever since I got the Reliance Broadband connection, I did not pay much attention to the other Airtel Broadband connection (which I am still retaining for a few more months).

Today, I decided to check out if anything has changed in the other camp. I looked into the Airtel Smartbytes page and see that they have increased my fair usage policy limit from 5GB to 25GB. Naturally, I was surprised and decided to verify about it with the customer care officials. For the sake of information, my DSL plan is KL_Combo 499 – 1 Mbps (Jan 2010).

Here comes the first shock – my land line number is not being recognized by the system. For a few minutes, even I got confused until I realized that it is their fault. I had to select “buy a new connection” from the IVRS options and thus could get connected to the customer care people.

The lady who was allocated to me – it seemed she just woke up from a deep slumber. I had to repeat the issues (a) land line number not being recognized by the system and (b) what is the real fair usage policy associated with my account  multiple times before she could understand and comprehend it. As usual, she said she will create a technical request for these issues and even stated that I will be receiving the request number on my mobile number shortly. Normally, I ask them to tell the request number so that I may note it down. Today, for whatsoever reasons, I did not resort to that. And yes, just as I had assumed, she was bluffing and no requests were created (I came to know about this only later).

I have now sent an email to Airtel Presence officials. And I am waiting for a favorable reply from their side.

Is Airtel Spying On My Browsing Habits?

I am an Airtel Broadband subscriber. A couple of weeks back, I was going through the list of outgoing connections established from my PC, when I came across this strange entry. I have attached a screenshot for more clarity.

Please look at the fifth entry. It shows that a connection has been established in between firefox and an Airtel server.

I find that every time I start firefox (or any other browser for that matter), such a connection is promptly established in between my PC and Airtel server. Very strange.

Does anyone have any ideas why they are doing it? Does it have something to do with airtel remote monitoring my browsing activities?

Airtel Broadband Fair Usage Policy – Finally Activated On My Connection

Ever since I had taken an Airtel broadband connection on august 2010, I have always dreaded the 256kbps fair usage policy. Luckily, they were good enough not to implement it on my account – until today*.

The original FUP (fair usage policy) on my connection was 5GB. My monthly usage was always nominal – it usually stood in between 15 to 20GB. Yes, on the last month or so, I had downloaded all the games in the Assassin’s Creed series – so maybe that contributed to about 20 to 30GB. Today*, I get a SMS from Airtel stating that they have reduced my speeds from 2mbps to 256kbps.

Imagine being downgraded from 2mbps to 256kbps. I had my concerns about the trading platforms running properly. However, those aspects are working without any hiccups.

*I had drafted this post on July 19 2011. So the today simply implies that date (not July 24 2011, the original date of publishing of this post). Delay in publishing this post in a timely manner is regretted..

Update 1 (July 28 2011) – Right now, I am enjoying 1mbps speeds. Previously, as mentioned in the original post, they had reduced my speed from 2mbps to 256kbps. I wonder how long the part is going to last!

Automatic Router Firmware Update from Airtel Broadband

Woah! I am officially impressed with Airtel Broadband services.

This morning, I find that they have done a remote update of the firmware of my broadband modem (Beetel 110TC1). The old firmware revision was T1B-0Q-005. Right now I am running on T1B-0Q-013.

The ADSL Status is now displayed as “PPP up” (earlier it was “connected”). The loop length in meters is also now shown; it is 1200m for me. There maybe other changes too – please post them over here as comments.

I request other Airtel Broadband customers to use 192.168.1.1 to access your modem’s browser based interface and determine whether they have done something similar on your modem too.

Update (March 13 2012 18:49): If you are interested in updating the firmware of your Airtel broadband modem (specifically the ones which are given away to the subscribers from the company itself), please check out http://122.166.105.80 This is a private portal maintained by Alcatel Lucent (who take care of the airtel broadband network in India). The appropriate firmware for your modem can be downloaded off that portal. As usual, please take caution against trying to upgrade the firmware.

Airtel Broadband Cable Cut Issues

Every week, my internet connection gets disrupted. Every time, the officials have only one explanation to offer me. That their cable got cut. It occurred today too – this is the second time in this week that I could not execute trades thanks to this problem.

Despite posting a complaint with the customer care by 08:45am, they looked into and rectified it only at 14:00 today.

One more incident such as this and I may bid goodbye to the services offered by this company – forever!

Airtel Broadband Bittorrent Throttling

Fact 1: I am experiencing slow speeds (of the order of 5kBps to 32kBps) on my Airtel 1Mbps connection. No, before you state it…my connection does not have any Fair Usage Policies. The customer care agents are unaware of such practices. They will find some reason or the other to “get the monkey off their backs” aka stop conversing with you.

Fact 2: This in turn means that Airtel is doing some sort of bittorrent throttling activities. The conventional tests will reveal that no form of blocking is done by the ISP.

Fact 3: Only a small share of the users seem to be affected by this throttling activity of the ISP. The rest blame it on the low number of seeds / peers and continue with their day-to-day life.

Fact 4: I am done with this connection, which makes me wait for a week for downloading 2.36GB. I will be reverting back to the good old H500 plan from BSNL Broadband. I will get 2Mbps and unlimited downloads everyday from 2am to 8am.

Why am I doing this? This is the best way to teach them a lesson when they exhibit corporate greed. I will spend my hard-earned savings on an ISP that does not throttle bittorrent speeds. Eminent experts (primarily Mathew Carley, the brainchild behind Hayai Broadband) have already commented on the availability of excessive and additional bandwidth with airtel. Yet the primary intention of this ISP is to milk money from the unsuspecting customers. One good example of this fact is the drastic reduction in the available speeds to 256kbps when you reach the Fair Usage Policy limits sets by the company. What good can 256kbps do during such trialing times?

Edit: I just noticed that they have managed to capture the attention of Vuze. Check out their wiki post.

Update (21/01/2011): Ever since my speeds were downgraded to 1Mbps, they have stopped throttling the bittorent downloads. I guess they now throttle only those who are in broadband plans that have speeds 2Mbps and above.

Update (23/01/2011): My earlier hypothesis was wrong. They are indeed throttling the torrent speeds to a maximum of 60 kBps. The throttling is effective from 10:30am to 12:00am everyday. If you wish to download anything via torrents on your airtel broadband, it will be wiser to do so from 12am to 10:30am (because they uncap the throttling mechanisms during this time frame).

My View About the Prevalent Broadband Situation In India

Here is an excerpt from one of my posts, which I had composed for India Broadband Forum:

One thing that I have learned to live with (especially in this country), is not to compare the services offered by the respective ISPs. The quality of service varies wildly and we are basically at the mercy of the officials. This is true for both government based as well as private operators. Many people will blame BSNL; they will cite the “BSNL babus” as lazy and unproductive lot! However, I have also come across certain “agents” of private ISPs, who charge unsuspecting customers for the length of wiring included while giving the BB connection!

The only way to wriggle out and survive in this situation is to take intelligent decisions. Make good use of the common sense and question the authorities, if you have any doubts.

I was a devout subscriber of BSNL Broadband since March 2005. Lately, I am with Airtel Broadband. Why? I learnt that Airtel is offering 1Mbps UL for just 499/- in my state. Yes, there is a FUP policy of 5GB. The FUP (fair usage policy) of Airtel works in wonderful manners. They penalize only those who have made it their life’s aim to download the entire internet! I also learnt that even though Airtel touts 5GB, 10GB as the FUP, the default FUP of all plans is 100GB. I made certain phone calls and yes, I couldn’t believe my ears. Within a day or two a shining new modem from Airtel was installed at my premises.

Right now, I am enjoying 2 Mbps UL from Airtel Broadband. They upgraded my 1 Mbps to 2 Mbps – free of cost. I am not sure of the revised FUP. But, I find that I am not penalized, when the entire nation is crying foul over the practices of this particular ISP!

For me, Airtel is the best out there. It does not necessarily mean that everyone must opt for the services of Airtel. Members will not find me citing Airtel’s services as the next holy grail too. However, it is better to keep a sharp look out for the plans offered by the competing ISPs. You might never know when you might strike gold!

PS: I still have that trusty old BSNL connection with me. 🙂

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