This is a post (and a letter) to highlight the horrendous quality of internet service from You Broadband.
8th June 2014
You Broadband, Chennai
I’m a business-level internet user, depending on close to 24×7 internet connectivity in both Indian and US time zones. I used – and still use – Airtel’s reliable 2 Mbps broadband, but I was looking for a faster connection to improve my business. I made the mistake of turning to You Broadband’s 20 Mbps connection, nearly 6 months ago. I consider myself a patient person, but You Broadband’s consistently egregious quality of service has tested my patience so many times, that it has compelled me to write this open letter to the management of You Broadband.
Over the last 6 months, You Broadband has demonstrated why India’s internet quality of service and speed are ranked an atrocious 130 by Ookla – lagging behind smaller nations like Bhutan, Cambodia, Nepal, Nigeria, Laos and Zimbabwe. Worse, You Broadband’s approach to providing a reliable, consistent and high-speed internet connection to its Indian consumers is analogous to the UP government’s approach providing a safe haven for women – non-existent. You Broadband epitomizes everything that is wrong with India, including:
Abysmally Erratic Connectivity
As an internet service provider, You Broadband has failed spectacularly. Never in the last 6 months has You Broadband’s internet service gone uninterrupted for more than an hour. The typical nature of the service has been 5-10 minutes of uptime, followed by 15-30 seconds of downtime, repeated over and over again. Except when the downtime has lasted for hours, with excuses like “fiber cut” – at least once a week. And the problems have been the worst between 6 PM and 9 PM every day – when most business-related users in India are communicating with their US counterparts. Do you know what happens when a VoIP/Skype call loses internet connectivity for a few seconds? Do you know what happens when a VPN connection to a secure, corporate network loses internet connectivity for a few seconds? Both get disconnected and lost. This dreadful quality of service has resulted in hundreds of hours of lost productivity and lakhs of rupees in lost revenue – and have gained India and Indians the ignominious reputation of having no quality focus.
Every time I’ve logged a service request about a flaky or slow internet connection, the service request has been closed within hours or a day, without You Broadband having fixed it, without a technician having attended to it, and without anyone even contacting me about it (!!) I abruptly and unexpectedly get SMSs stating “Dear Customer your complain is addressed. Please check & If NOT satisfied send the following SMS…” [sic]. I send the response SMS or call the call center, and get back an SMS stating “We have registered your complain. The same shall be attended on priority. Your new Request id is…” [sic] – which is closed once again without action, thus repeating the futile, frustrating and unethical process over and over again. When I call the customer service line to tell them that the call was closed without resolving it, the customer service executives appear clueless and puzzled. When I call the technicians directly, they blame the wifi router – which works perfectly well with my Airtel broadband. Sometimes the technicians blame the Chennai city government for cutting fiber cables. Sometimes they blame the problems on “server issues”. Obviously You Broadband’s technicians are unscrupulous (closing calls without acting upon them), dishonest (lying to customers and their call center) and lazy (not resolving any issues).
Dishonest Sales Executives
When the sales executives first came to my doorstep, I was wary and leery of the claims that they made about You Broadband’s high speed and no connection problems. They assured me that while there were other areas in Chennai that had problems, Aminjikarai had none because of their fiber optic cables. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the quality of service and connectivity would be this pathetic. Or that the sales executives would be such blatant liars.
Clueless Call Center and Management
You Broadband’s call center for customer service and its management teams have proven to be utterly clueless about the quantum of the problem and the extent to which the cancer of abominable service have spread within the organization. The call center either does not maintain or does not care about the history and frequency of problems faced by customers; each call is a new one, and each call is punctuated by “sorry for the inconvenience” – only to be repeated over and over again, sometimes several times a day. Neither the call center executives not the managers have a clue whether technical issues were actually solved or were falsely closed by You Broadband’s useless technicians. Emails to You Broadband’s published “nodal officers” go unanswered, begging the question as to whether there are any nodal officers actually in existence.Â Piling insult over injury, despite You Broadband’s regular outages that haveÂ caused down-times of 1 to 1.5Â months over the last 6 months, they have the temerity – nay, the gallÂ -Â to ask me to renew my subscription!
A Google search on the internet reveals that there are tens of thousands of complaints from angry You Broadband customers who’ve been cheated by You Broadband’s sales executives and distressed by You Broadband’s erratic and poor internet connections. www.consumercourt.in, www.grahakseva.com, www.mouthshut.com, www.consumercourtforum.in, broadbandforum.co, www.complaintboard.in, forum.indiaconsumercomplaints.com, www.akosha.com, www.grahaksuraksha.com, customercomplaint.co.in and dozens of similar forums are filled with vitriol from furious You Broadband customers who have nowhere else to turn, after being given the virtual finger by You Broadband’s impotent customer service team.
That You Broadband belongs to a class of companies that think that Indians deserve third grade products and services is not surprising. That this unethical, reprehensible venture is created, advised and funded by British Gas, TRG Management LP and Citigroup Venture Capital is surprising. Should these 3 organizations be ashamed of themselves for spawning, rearing and encouraging such a morally bankrupt venture? Definitely.
You Broadband and its 3 parent companies must be aware that the TRAI has updated its Quality of Service regulations for broadband, adding a clause which allows it to penalize service providers that fail to meet the QoS benchmarks, submit falsified reports on QoS parameters, or fail to submit reports. I’m sure that the TRAI would love to hear from frustrated and disgruntled You Broadband customers, as to the levels of depravity that You Broadband has plumbed. These organizations must also be aware that telecom users (mobile providers, internet service providers, broadband service providers, DTH operators, cable TV operators and landline service providers) in India can now approach consumer courts directly to settle their grievances. I’m also sure that the tens of thousands of You Broadband customers who are fed up to the back teeth with You Broadband’s shenanigans would love to take this alleged internet service provider to court.
I hope that this letter will make a difference. While You Broadband and its parent companies have lost me as a customer forever, perhaps this letter might serve to warn others from making the same mistake I did – of using You Broadband, or might prompt a change for the better within You Broadband.
Edit: A side effectÂ ofÂ the behavior and policies of recalcitrant ISPs like You Broadband is that the effect on fledgling startups in India is devastating. Startups are often strapped for cash, and cannot afford both dedicated leased lines and backup internet connections – yet their ISPs try toÂ sell them dedicated leased lines “to improve the quality of their internet connection” (You Broadband did). Not only is that unethical and borderline illegal (deliberately providing bad internet connectivity at “regular prices” so that consumers are forced to upgrade to highly expensive connections), it stifles – and even kills – startups that would rather use their severely limited funds to further innovate and release their products.