Airtel Changes Broadband Plans – Slyly.

I had been noticing a steady decline in my overall download speed during the last few days. I attributed it to the overall Torrent / Download seed-peer equation but last night at 1 AM i noticed that the speed remianed constant at around 20kbps.

A small history – I have the 999 home plan from Airtel which i got over 1 year ago. As per the plan i was going to get 256 kbps during the day and  512 between 10 30 PM – 6 AM or so.   A pretty good plan which gets one about 1.5 GB worth of downloading every day. Avg speed during the day used to be in the region of 24-26Kbps and between 40 -45 during the night.

Decided to get in touch with Airtel. Airtel’s online live chat executives were not even aware that such a plan existed and kept harping that i had got it wrong. I called the call center which was more clued on and i was right.. Airtel had gone ahead and made amendments without any announcement or information being passed on to us consumers.

I was told that the “double speed” at night had been revoked and the constant speed would now be at 256. Upon asking as to why no information had been provide i was told “Airtel is under no compulsion to give such updates”  !!

One can take a top up of 299 and get back to the original plan. This however would mean that the total fixed cost for the plan goes to 1299 + taxes…pretty expensive in my opinion. None of the other plans come close to this. I am contemplating taking up a billing dispute with them as well now considering i was charged for a plan which i am not interested in and is no longer the one i had chosen.

Rather bad on Airtel’s part to do this in a such a manner. I might just switch to a different ISP as well now. I have the excuse to try someone new out.

Online Bus Reservation

I have always maintained that despite the travel industry being one of the most “active” with regard to players and products it’s also a space where “differentiation” is necessary but hard to come by. Every possible sector within Travel now has been covered with respect to website offerings , its going to get harder and harder.

I have been wanting to write a couple of thoughts on Online Bus reservation and specifically for a while now and whether the model , while unique, is really sustainable in the long run.  I strongly believe that there is a distinct opportunity here to stand out if they play their cards right. The argument that millions of people in India use buses and hence the potential is great is not valid. The TG is actually more niche than that and will essentially be inter state and city travelers. Within this it will only be people above a certain income strata – if anyone is under the impression that a site like redbus will be able to compete with the likes of local buses , its not going to happen.

State transport buses (the biggest fleet) will not play a big role in this model. I see a site like Redbus essentially targeting or showcasing options from private operators only. If they can crack cities and states which are proactive on tourism , such as Kerala , Himachal it would be a big boost for the site. Pro active states in my opinion would want to reach out to as many travelers as possible , and being one of the only sites in the domain they should be looking at this.

I believe the biggest flow will come from short distance inter city /state travelers who

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Lansdowne – Part 2 – The town.

Further to my earlier post where i discussed way and means of getting to Lansdowne , i shall write a bit about our general experience in the town itself.

Lansdowne is essentially a cantonment and you get that vibe as soon as one drives into town. On one side its the number of army personnel , military police and vehicles, and on the other a certain level of cleanliness and order which can only be found , atleast in my experience, in cantonment towns. Add the normal qualities of a hillstation i.e weather , greenery, freindly people and you end up having a very delightful and attractive destination.

Upon driving into the town you are confronted with a round about from where one can go either straight or take a left. Going straight for 3 Kms would take you to the museum , 5 Kms would get you to tip n top. Taking a left would take you to the local market beyond which is the Hotel Fairydale and then the lake.

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