Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Sep 24, 2004
VSNL enters broadband retail space
Mumbai , Sept. 23
VSNL appears to have stolen a march over other large corporate contenders in the race to the broadband home retail space.
The company has already gone commercial with its Tata Indicom offer in select pockets in Mumbai and Pune, and not just with the DSL service that came with the acquisition of Dishnet DSL some time back but with its own metro-ethernet project.
Brochures describing its offers are already being distributed in neighbourhoods across the two cities.
It was Reliance Infocomm that was most strongly associated with any metro-ethernet project, the company having laid fibre to connect a million buildings across the country. VSNL's metro-ethernet project will soon have under it some 40,000 km of optic fibre, both owned and leased, connecting 30-40 cities in the country.
"We have taken 20,000 km of fibre on lease in perpetuity, almost. We have another 15,000-20,000 km of our own, such as that laid by Tata Power in Mumbai. Wherever we cannot lease, we are laying fibre of our own," said a senior company official.
In Mumbai alone, the company has over 700 km of fibre, the official added. "We have started here in a phased manner from June 2004."
While DSL customers are mostly post-paid customers, the metro-ethernet broadband service being offered has several prepaid tariff packages.
A full-fledged commercial launch spanning 30 to 40 cities is around the corner, said the official.
Both volume-based (based on volumes downloaded) and time-based broadband packages are available, the maximum download speed being 512 kbps.
Initial installation charges amount to around Rs 2,000; this is currently lower than the initial charges of Rs 3,000-4,000 that cable Internet providers ask for.
"Should a small home enterprise require to connect more than one PC to our broadband service, we will provide a router for which an additional Rs 8,000 is charged," said the official.
Broadband packages start from Rs 397 (including taxes) for downloads up to 200 MB, the charge being around Rs. 1.80 per MB.
The time-based offers also start at Rs 397 (including taxes) for 20 broadband hours.
An official with Reliance Infocomm said that though his company was not yet ready with its home retail offer, its own broadband plans would be "incomparable" with that of the others.
"We are not just talking of Net access; we are going to offer content and value-added services. We are building up libraries of content and lots of applications, and also, we are not talking of access speeds of 512 kbps but of speeds on gigabyte scale."
"There are ways of reaching the Internet home even without the PC, the sky would be the limit," said a senior official with Reliance Infocomm.
More Stories on : Broadband
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |
Copyright © 2004, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line