The cable Internet service providers (ISP) challenged the
dialup ISPs. And now it is their turn to face competition.
But this time the opponents are really big telecom players
like Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL), Bharti Telenet and also
one of Indias largest ISP, Satyam Infoway (Sify).
the telcos are offering digital subscriber line (DSL)
broadband via their telephone line. BSNL uses the direct
Internet access system (DIAS) developed by the Intel-invested
Banyan Networks, Chennai. On its part Bharti uses Siemens
unique aspect of their service is that the subscriber
can simultaneously use the telephone/voice as well as
access the Net. Sify, which delivers wireless broadband
through its cyber cafes, has decided to expand its retail
presence by targeting households for its hybrid broadband
connectivity (See Sifys
on an experimental basis, BSNL has started offering the
always-on (24 hours Net connectivity) broadband
service via DIAS in one city in each telecom circle. For
Rs 1,800 per month, BSNL delivers 128 kbps speed and does
not impose any download restrictions as is being done
by cable ISPs and Bharti.
there are no modem costs involved for BSNL customers.
The customer also needs to shell out Rs 2,000 as a onetime
connection charge, and Rs 3,000 as a refundable security
deposit. On the other hand Hathway Cable charges Rs 1,500
for the same speed, while restricting the download to
cable net subscriber also has to bear the modem cost of
Rs 7,800 or the modem rent of Rs 500 per month. In all
their subscription packages the cable ISPs charge a minimum
of Rs 2 per extra MB download. If one goes by the trend
in the telecom sector, in all probability BSNLs
rates will be revised downwards.
the case of Bharti, a 64-kbps DSL connection costs an
individual Rs 995 per month with usage restrictions
100 hours / month and 1 GB download. While the non-refundable
security deposit is Rs 3,000, the cost of the modem works
out to Rs 8,000. In the case of 128 kbps connection, the
monthly rental is Rs 2,900 with a download limit of 5
GB and a non-refundable security deposit of Rs 8,000.
about the competition from BSNL and Bharti offering DSL
connection with simultaneous voice and data access facility,
P Kailasam, head, Internet-over-cable operations, Siti
Cable Network, says: While alternatives are coming
in, we believe that cable-over-Internet will still offer
value for money in terms of cost as well as bandwidth
Asianet senior vice-president Praveen Shrikhande: The
cable modem prices have been drastically reduced over
the past one year. From about Rs.15,000 in mid-2001 it
has been brought down to the current price of Rs 6,000.
Dishnet DSL official says: We have a national footprint.
That cant be said of the private basic telecom players.
Further one should look at the business focus. Our focus
is to provide Net connectivity whereas theirs is telephone
connection. But that focus is sure to change now.
Telcos are now realising the importance of data
access service, says K V Nair, chief operating officer,
one advantage that cable ISPs have over telcos is their
flexible packages. For instance, Hathway Cables
base scheme starts at Rs 650 per month with download restricted
to 300 MB and Rs 2 per every additional MB.
the meantime, the subscription rates of three southern
cable ISPs (Siti Cable, Hathway Cable and Asianet) provide
an interesting comparison. For an individual householder,
Asianet in Kerala offers the lowest rates, followed by
the group company Hathway Cable, while Siti Cable is the
instance, Asianet charges Rs 880 per month for 500-MB
download while Hathway Cable charges Rs 1,000 per month
for 500-MB download and Rs 2 for every additional MB.
Siti Cable charges Rs 1,500 per personal computer per
month for 500 MB downloads and Rs 3 per every additional
MB. Further, Siti Cables modem costs more than Hathways
one looks at the overseas scenario, cable ISPs coexist
with other broadband service providers by carving out
a niche and offering cheaper and faster access.