Review: Nextra Fiber Broadband (FTTH)

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Nextra Teleservices is a Gurgaon based emerging Internet Service Provider (ISP) which is aiming to equip India’s homes with ultra fast broadband connections delivered over Fiber To The Premises (FTTP) infrastructure. In FTTP, the fiber runs from the central office till the customer’s premises. In apartments & group housing complexes, premises might mean each individual building, whereas in independent houses, the fiber might terminate into a common pole or distribution box. Ethernet wires run from these common distribution boxes to the customer’s equipment.

Nextra is leveraging the Fiber infrastructure being laid out by Delhi based Radius Infratel Private Limited. Radius was the first company to launch Fiber network in India in December 2008. Airtel & Tata Teleservices also leverage Radius’ Fiber network to offer their fiber based broadband plans.

Plans

Nextra offers a variety of plans for every type of customer. Here is a brief table of their unlimited plans:

Plan Name Speed Price
FiberBolt 10 10 Mbps INR 999 
FiberBolt 15 15 Mbps INR 1199 
FiberBolt 20 20 Mbps INR 1399 
FiberBolt 50 50 Mbps INR 1999 
FiberBolt 100 100 Mbps INR 2999

Al the plans come with a download and upload quota of 15 GB. Once your quota is consumed, your speed reduces to 512 kbps for the remainder of the billing cycle.

In order to get more quota, customers can buy add on packs priced at INR 300. The first add on worth 300 rupees will give you 15 GB more. The next one (worth 300 rupees again) gives you 20 GB more and subsequent ones give you 30, 40 & 50 GB more allowing a customer to get a maximum monthly download upload quota of 170 GB by paying an additional INR 1200 over the plan charges.

The plan rentals are very competitively priced given that Airtel & Tata Teleservices offer plans with lower quota at higher rentals.

Speed

I have been using the FiberBolt 100 plan for close to 4 months now. The plan offers download and upload speeds of 100 Mbps. In my experience, Nextra has been very consistent in delivering the speed promised. A speed test using Nextra’s servers in Gurgaon yields 100% speed.

In order to see the full potential of such high speeds, one has to either download a heavy file (> 1GB) using a download manager or a torrent client with torrent port forwarded. My download speed touches 10 – 12 MBPS (mega bits per second) easily using both download manager & a torrent client. The upload speed is also great. Heavy files get attached very fast in gmail.

Note that upload speed in your torrent client can also reach 10 – 12 MBPS. Since upload data is also counted towards your quota, it can eat up the quota real quick. Limiting the upload speed in the torrent client is highly recommended.

Also, I had to actually increase the memory buffer in my torrent client from 32 MB to 1 GB as the buffer was filling up with downloaded data faster than my hard disk drive could save it causing the torrent client to throttle the download speed!

Customer Service

This is one area where Nextra is amazing. I had a few instances where there was a network loop in their systems which was causing various issues. They had a backend engineer attached to my case and I had the guy’s cellphone number. And this person was a real network engineer with knowledge of stuff as opposed to a customer care executive who just asks you to restart your router for everything. They were very diligent in following up and were very prompt to respond to every request. The engineer used to call me at the time of my convenience and did everything remotely instead of sending someone to my home to inspect a problem at the server/switch side.

I also got a call from their back end team once when I accidentally set my torrent client’s upload speed limit to unlimited. My torrent client uploaded 20 GB of data in 2 hours and a back end engineer called me on my cell to inform me of the same and recommended to stop the torrent and limit the download speed!

Another amazing instance was when nextra had a new DNS policy where they blocked all DNS except theirs and some popular ones like Google, OpenDNS, and Yahoo DNS. I use unotelly’s unoDNS service to watch Netflix on my Apple TV. It stopped working after this new policy came in effect. I called up the engineer I spoke with during the last issue and explained him about the unotelly service. He actually went to unotelly’s website, read about the service, and added all the unotelly unoDNS servers to their list! All within 2 hours! That is some amazing customer service!

Consistency

Broadband has become a necessity now. And it is very important to have a consistent service without frequent disruptions causing havoc. Nextra is pretty good at this with a few exceptions. Most of the issues I faced were beyond their control as there were issues with Radius’ fiber network. However. they can certainly improve in this area by keeping stricter SLAs and 24×7 resolution of downtime complaints.

Another growth area I see is that the ethernet link between the customer’s router and their fiber termination box switch is only 100 Mbps. Since 100 Mbps is a theoretical link speed, practically, you will get around 96 Mbps max. This causes the 100 Mbps customer to loose about 4 Mbps of broadband juice. It might sound funny to many, but someone who is paying a couple of thousand bucks to get 100 Mbps speed expects that he gets what he paid for. A simple solution is to have gigabit link between the switch and customer’s equipment. Most new hardware are compatible with gigabit ethernet.

Future Plans

Nextra has aggressive plans to offer value added services like Video on Demand, HD TV services, IP telephony, home security & surveillance etc. We believe that Nextra has the infrastructure and the capability to provide these services at affordable prices and with high quality to its customers.

Conclusion

I will personally recommend Nextra broadband to everyone. If it is available in your area, just go for it. Ditch Airtel or any other ISP you are lugging on right now. Apart from the amazing speed and high quality service, you will be amazed with the awesome customer care and will never be able to go back.

Log on to Nextra’s availability page to find out if Nextra is available in your area. Although such high speed broadband connections deserve unlimited quota plans, Nextra does offer limited quota plans in case you are interested in them. You can find out all the available plans here.

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