Even as dialup Internet service providers (ISPs) like Satyam
Infoway (Sify) and Dishnet DSL are looking at broadband
access in a major way, Asianet Satellite Communications,
a cable ISP/multi-services operator (MSO) is going the other
way. The company will be soon starting its dialup Net access
will be launching the dialup service and Net telephony
in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi this month, says
Praveen Shrikhande, vice-president. However, he declines
to specify the outlay planned for the expansion programmes.
The dialup service will give the company a presence in
the narrowband Net access.
company is also expanding its cable ISP business to other
towns like Thrissur, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Kollam over
the next six months. Asianet Satellite has signed a right-of-way
deal (licence to use the electricity poles to string cables)
with the Kerala State Electricity Board. According to
Shrikhande, the company has 3,300 cable Internet subscribers
in two cities Thiruvananthapuram (2,000 subscribers)
and Kochi (1,300).
by former Doordarsan newsreader Sashi Kumar for cable
TV operations, Asianet Satellite in 1995 became a joint
venture outfit with the Rajan Raheja groups Hathway
Investments, picking up 50-per cent stake for Rs 35 crore.
Subsequently, the Rahejas bought out the remaining stake
for an undisclosed sum.
the company is one of the largest private investors in
Kerala with a total investment of Rs 350 crore. The companys
infrastructure includes around 50 earth stations, and
over 40,000 kms of hybrid fibre coaxial cable network.
While the primary revenue generator for the cable ISP
business is the monthly subscription, the company also
offers other services like web-hosting for corporates.
to Shrikhande, the company is targeting all the three
market segments, viz homes, small offices and business
establishments for its Internet access business. The company
averages Rs 900 per month and Rs 5,000 per month as revenue
per home and corporate subscriber, respectively.
other southern markets, Asianet Satellite finds higher
growth in the home segment. Though the competition is
increasing with Sify planning to roll out wireless broadband
and Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) also offering digital
subscriber line (DSL) broadband, Shrikhande is not perturbed.
the Kerala market, although Dishnet DSL is present in
Kochi, we are offering better quality service at a lower
rate and hence we do not perceive any immediate threat
by way of competition.
Asianet Satellite offers the cheapest cable Internet service
among all the southern players. Shrikhande adds: Our
strength is our presence in 12 of the 14 districts, and
focusing exclusively on the activities of Kerala state.
The high literacy rate and comparatively high computer
awareness amongst the populace are opportunities to be
company sources 16 Mbps bandwidth from Singtel, BSNL and
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd.