Digital India, Smart City and now FAAST Networks, Belagavi’s Internet Landscape is undergoing a radical overhaul
There’s a distinct kind of rage that bubbles up whenever an Internet company politely tells you that “I am sorry, we don’t have coverage in your area” or rather “we are not present in your city”.
Most of us know the feeling, but Ajit in Belagavi, wasn’t going to sit offline and wait. No, he did what most helpless customers only dream about doing—he started his own internet company.
Not a tech startup, or an e-commerce site, but a full-on internet service provider they could use to hook up the entire city to the faastest, reliable internet connection.
The company’s name FAAST doesn’t require an explanation, but what Ajit is doing from that same office he is running a software firm from, might end up being one of the biggest changes to the way we access the Internet in Belagavi in years to come.
With close to 20 Years of experience in designing, setting up and running some of the big networks in the country, technical part of the ISP design and setup was more or less a cake walk for him.
What was rather difficult was the Government Laws and regulation, but where there is a will there is a way, so one after another, the FAAST team was able to successfully meet all the compliances and became the first ISP License holder in the city.
Right now, FAAST has around 50 commercial connections in the city and about 100 of residential customers, most of which live in the areas where all the other telecom players have turned down subscription requests.
FAAST’s lowest plan costs about Rs.500 a month giving a user 50GB of data at the speed of 5Mbps and unlimited at 512Kbps thereafter, fastest and lowest than the lowest advertised price of any of the current players.
Before starting FAAST, Ajit tried various methods to bring in high speed internet into the city, partnered with Airtel, Sify and Railtel, but nothing worked to the extent of expectation.
All of his clients were dissatisfied, he said, and he offered a solution that was cheaper, faster, and easier.
The first in the city to offer a 100Mbps speed plan to choose.
Providing 100Mbps for an ISP in Bengaluru is far easier than doing it in a city like Belagavi, the technology cost practically doubles, making it even harder for small players, and that is the reason why the big players don’t make such a move.
Sentiments can be the only driver for someone to do this. So much that FAAST is launching 250Mbps in the coming few weeks. Beta testing is going on.
But speed isn’t everything for an ISP. Considering that FAAST was created in response to the unreliable service previously available in Belagavi, Ajit also maintains a remarkably high uptime for his service. When asked about the last time he had an outage, Patil cracks a half-excited smile when he says, he hasn’t witnessed anything as yet.
FAAST users can actually logon to www.faast.in and check our entire network health, we have made everything public and open, as they say, we are more open than the open network.
With features like Roaming Broadband, one of its kind in the country, a FAAST customer can actually use his home broadband username and password to access internet at any of the FAAST Wi5 zones, currently FAAST has about 4 Wi5 zones in the city, adding more as we write this.
Another unique social element this Internet company has is, it offers 10% discount on your internet bill if you plant a tree and maintain it month on month, well that’s amazing.
FAAST Networks is the one to Bring Belagavi on the Internet Map, FAAST hosts the first and the only Speedtest server in Belagavi, we have only about 4 so far in Karnataka.
Although his service is quicker, Patil’s goal isn’t to beat Internet land speed records. Instead, he’s offering a net-neutral alternative to the big ISPs to take some of the day-to-day hassle out of dealing with a big ISP. If there’s a problem, you simply WhatsApp, Chat, Call Support Line or even comment on Facebook, his team is always ready to attend to the customers
The emergence of an upstart Internet Service Provider in the populated city in is a little surprising. Alternative ISPs usually provide service to rural overlooked remote areas that fall victim to the “The last mile is the most expensive” mentality of most major providers. Instead, FAAST exists because of the strange state of broadband Internet in Belagavi despite being nominated/selected for the Smart City Program, much of Belagavi’s and more industrial areas have spotty Internet service and only one provider to choose from.
Patil sounds positive about the future of Internet access in Belagavi and say
Irrespective of whether FAAST becomes the number 1 choice in the City or not for an internet connection, we have ignited the fire, it is now left to all the ISPs to come together and increase internet penetration in the city. I still remember the various meetings I had with various ISPs in the city when I moved to Belagavi about 4 Years back,
One can book a connection online at www.faast.in/pricing.html