Indians finally getting Broadband

Business Standard reports that Tata owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) is going to roll out retail broadband in 30 cities over next 24 months. The first cities to get the high-speed connections will include technology-hubs Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore. It has already test marketed the services in Mumbai. The company expects broadband access to become a $65 million a year business. Amitabh Khanna, chief financial officer, VSNL, said, “We are expanding our broadband operations to the retail segment — including homes — in 30 cities.”

Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata group, said that “It will be a major thrust area for the telecom carrier…. the company will look at providing best broadband connectivity at competitive rates in the domestic and overseas markets.” VSNL will use cable infrastrucutre to provide broadband. The company is going to charge $8 a month for a 512 megabits per second service using the assets of Dishnet, a company the group had acquired earlier. “We will pursue the triple play – voice, data and video in this changing scenario,” Tata said. India’s consumer broadband market is about to get a jump-start. Reliance Infocomm is working on wiring up the country with fiber and wants to offer triple-play services as well in coming months. Sify Broadband and Zee Broadband are current players, and have a horrible track record with consumers. State-owned BSNL has also indicated its seriousness about triple-play services but is banking on DSL technologies.