Customers expect features to be easily accessible: Fastway Transmissions’ S. Gurdeep Singh Jujhar

Mumbai: Fastway Transmissions Pvt. Ltd., a part of the Jujhar Group, was founded in 2007. It claims to be the fourth largest multi-system operator (MSO) that transmits entertainment network (broadcaster) signals to various cable operators. The company acts as a go-between for broadcasters and cable providers. The company has developed a robust network and infrastructure for signal carriage by leveraging its optical fibre cable technology, which is spread across the entire length and breadth of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Delhi-NCR, and Jammu & Kashmir. Fastway Transmissions was the first company to successfully install underground infrastructure both in urban and rural areas.

The management believes in service excellence and achieves near-perfect customer satisfaction. Fastway Transmissions mentions that it has attained a very competitive market position with over five million cable service customers, 2.5 million viewers, uninterrupted coverage of prominent locations in the region, vast underground infrastructure extending over 21000 kilometres, and 10 gigabit network technologies.

The business, which is located across the whole Punjab region and a big chunk of North India, uses Internet Protocol (IP) technology to provide conventional and digital feeds from over 3,000 channels to various cable operators. Fastway Transmissions also owns the rights to broadcast live from the bulk of religious sites in Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan.

Fastway Transmissions strives to be a well-known firm on several levels. They want to be appreciated for engaging their stakeholders and for being a reliable and trustworthy firm. They also look forward to multifaceted expansion in the future, with increased footprints in numerous fields. caught up with Jujhar Group of Companies chairman and managing director S. Gurdeep Singh Jujhar to find out about Fastway Transmissions' plans going forward. Jujhar is a natural leader, committed to driving growth and change. Having graduated from the Government College in Ludhiana in 1985, he joined his family's transport business soon after. At a very early stage, he realised the need for a professional logistics service that operated with uncompromised standards and precision, and in 1990, he founded Jujhar Constructions and Travels Pvt. Ltd.

He recognised the value of high-quality broadcasting and expanded the company into multi-satellite operations by establishing Fastway Transmissions, thereby revolutionising the way Punjab watches TV. He also pioneered the setting up of an expansive optic fibre cable across Punjab and facilitated the explosion of high-speed broadband internet with a multitude of allied smart applications with the introduction of Netplus Broadband.

He eventually also found his calling in real estate and ventured into Jujhar Group’s large-scale residential and commercial projects.

Under his leadership, the group has witnessed unprecedented progress and scaled up to expand into a multitude of high-growth industries, with operations across eight states in North India. Currently, he sits on the boards of over 20 companies under the Jujhar Group banner.


On the progress that Fastway has made since launching operations in 2007

Fastway Transmissions is the largest multiple-system operator (MSO) in North India and a pioneer in digital entertainment services. We serve Punjab as well as other major northern Indian states such as Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi-NCR, and Uttar Pradesh.

Fastway is a household name in the region and the most preferred brand, having begun operations in 2007. The company has established a strong infrastructure by laying down an extensive network of optical fibre cable, satisfying the entertainment appetite through 400 SD+HD channels.

Fastway is the largest MSO in North India and the fifth largest MSO in India. It offers 400 SD+HD channels of interactive content, digital entertainment, and next-generation services such as Android TV, broadband, OTT, and voice services. Our prices are affordable, and we provide a variety of bouquet services to our customers at reasonable prices.

On the goals for the year

We are committed to service expansion and currently have over six million home passes across eight states. In the current fiscal year, we intend to provide our services across India. We are heavily investing in the development of world-class fibre infrastructure to support future converged services. To maintain this growth trajectory, the journey ahead will include a concentrated expansion of services in rural areas.

The company's services are available in over 400 cities thanks to over 14,000 channel partners. NetPlus has over 2,000 enterprise customers and is a recognised organisation directly involved in providing wi-fi solutions under the government's Smart City Projects in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu & Kashmir.

On the challenges that Fastway will face as it scales further

We aim to reorganise on a national scale as a model ISP offering next-generation services. We have partnered with BBNL for rural expansion and intend to invest Rs 300 crore in capex in 2022.

We aim to be one of the top five broadband companies in 2022. There are approximately 6.5 million villages in India. This year, we plan to expand through a rural broadband project on which we are all working. We will also invest heavily in technology development and automation to gain a competitive advantage in delivering a next-generation experience. We will continue to grow and develop our service delivery team. We hope to reach a 7.5 lakh base this year with 10 million home passes.

On the investments being made this year

We are expanding rapidly to increase coverage and capacity and have access to about 0.5 million households, which is increasing by half a million every month. This year, we intend to reach 3,000 rural villages and increase our subscriber base to 7.5 lakh.

We are currently present in eight states across North India, including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Chandigarh, and Delhi-NCR.

On the covid impact on the business

Following the pandemic, technology has become an increasingly important component of the workforce. Businesses are looking to technology to help them engage with customers, provide some workplace flexibility, and introduce automation and faster processes. However, the spread of the novel coronavirus and the suspension of non-essential business meetings accelerated these adoptions tremendously. It compelled us to consider innovative digital solutions in order to continue operating remotely and serving their client base.

On the USP when it comes to digital TV services

Our USP is our local content. We have 100+ local channels, which are the favourites among our customers. We provide them with a 24x7 regional flavour of music, movies, news, etc. across all genres.

On trends being seen in the cable and DTH industries

Convergence and Mobility of Networks: Customers expect features to be easily accessible whenever and wherever they need them. Converged connections create interconnection by combining coaxial cable, fiber, WiFi, LTE, and 5G and provide a number of notable benefits.

Getting closer to the network's edge: IP connections take the place of analogue fibre at the hub and node. As the PHY moves closer to the customer's home, companies can promise better network operation: less noise, higher signal processing, more capabilities, and faster service.

Network virtualisation improves efficiency by moving those with climate change action plans away from the central site and into a centralised data center. Performance in the hub that was previously provided by legacy, hardware-based technology is now provided by multiple virtual machines running on commodity servers.

While DTH increased its subscription share from 42 per cent in 2019 to 47 per cent in 2021, cable TV fell from 56 per cent to 52 per cent during the same period. According to the report, by the end of 2024, India will have one billion video screens.

On technology is transforming the cable space, and the adoption of OTT services impacting this space.

System automation is becoming an essential part of the digitisation process, opening up new possibilities for the cables and connectors used in machinery.

We see tremendous growth potential in cable and connection technology. Manufacturers must reconsider and redefine their alternatives in order to implement digitisation. The shift from traditional media to OTT technologies has resulted in a consumer battle between traditional media providers.

The rise of OTT media, which actively provides services to audiences via the internet, has resulted in an increase in the number of broadband connections, better networks, technological advancements, and the ease of access to gadgets.

On the whitespace for NetPlus in tier II, tier III towns and cities

We are one of the leading operators in India, focusing on tier II and tier III cities. We provide the same level of FTTH result quality to our urban and rural customers. Our mission is to deliver broadband service to every gram panchayat through strategic collaboration and our mission statement. We have services in nearly 300+ tier II and tier III cities, with systems in place to manage them effectively.

On Fastway’s Android STB services

Through direct links and a remote, the Fastway STB provides users with one-click access to Prime Video, YouTube, and Google Play. The STB includes features such as dolby vision, dolby audio, HDMI 2.1, dual band, bluetooth, and USB3.

On the role that tie-ups with tech partners like Cisco, Synamedia play

In the future, Fastway will use Synamedia's virtualised Digital Content Manager (vDCM) to increase the monetization of its content investments and to accelerate the trial and launch of new channels and services. The operator is already using Synamedia solutions for broadcast, security, IP delivery, and STB software.

Deploying a converged headend solution is an important technological investment as Fastway lays out its ambitious plans for new services and subscriber growth. This is consistent with the company's ongoing strategy to improve customer service and will serve as a catalyst for increased video and triple play subscribers.

Aside from the ability to use Cisco Capital’s leasing and finance options, Cisco's cable digitization solutions provide the massive scaling and operational cost optimisation benefits that cable operators require in order to transition to a digital platform.

On contributing to the government's scheme for smart cities

On 25 June 2015, prime minister Narendra Modi launched India's "100 Smart Cities Mission," an urban renewal and renovation initiative aimed at creating smart cities that are both citizen-oriented and sustainable.

Fastway Group has recently begun contributing to the nation in order to help the PM realise his dreams. In 2017, Fastway Group's Netplus Broadband and Skayma Infra completed the first project in North India for a public wi-fi system as part of the smart city project at the Heritage Walk Harmandir Sahib Amritsar.

The company is now actively participating in such projects, having recently won the 'Connectivity Solutions' contract for the smart cities of Amritsar, Jalandhar, and Sultanpur Lodhi. Two of these three are well-known religious sites in Punjab. Other upcoming projects include Jammu Smart City, Patiala Safe City, and Mohali Safe City.

On Netplus Broadband's strategy to stay ahead in an extremely competitive market

With the objective of offering broadband to everyone and everywhere, our goal is to be the top supplier of broadband services in the nation.

The company began operations in 2016 and aggressively rolled out its six million households across eight states through 14K channel partners. It also had strong and aggressive consumer offerings that offered value for the customers' money. The first service provider to introduce a 1 Gig Plan in the area is Netplus Broadband. The business saw enormous expansion, adding more than five lakh consumers, and is now the clear market leader in the area.

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