Two players quit Chennai net cable field; Hathway benefits

Chennai: The Chennai cable Internet market has entered into a new phase with two of the three major players, Cyberwave Internet Solutions and KMR Online, stopping their Internet-via-cable services. Now the field is wide open for Hathway Cable & Datacom.

KMR Online officials, however, say the company has just stopped accepting new subscriptions, and is offering the service to existing subscribers. KMR Online, a dial-up Internet service provider (ISP), entered the cable market using the local area network (LAN) technology, connecting the neighbourhood through an UTP cable.

On the other hand, the Rs 5.3-crore equity-based Cyberwave pulled its plugs early this month. According to industry sources, the employees of Cyberwave have quit in large numbers in recent times.

Attempts to contact Cyberwave managing director S Sriram were futile. The sources say Cyberwave had even approached Hathway Cable with an offer to transfer its subscribers. But the latter, being the only remaining player in Chennai in this segment, was reluctant and turned down the offer.

It was a troubled career for Cyberwave all through. Its original business plan was to ask cable TV operators to invest in the infrastructure and restrict the company's role as an ISP. But the operators lacked the wherewithal to invest in two-way amplifies and other equipment.

Unfortunately it is the Cyberwave subscribers who has to bear the brunt now. They were forced to buy the modem (a proprietary Israeli technology) to get connected to the net. Now they will have to invest another Rs 8,000 on the modem if they wish to switch over to other service providers, Hathway or DishnetDSL, which offer digital subscriber line (DSL) connectivity via copper cable.