labels: e-business
Internet through anything is still internet!news
03 September 1999

With the growing realisation about using cable TV to access the Internet, more companies are trying to venture into this field. They include the Hindujas'' IndusInd group, and the Rajan Raheja group''s Hathway Investments, which has been expanding its media operations mainly through acquisitions.

IndusInd Distribution, the Hindujas'' Mumbai-based company, has drawn up plans for a Rs 200-crore internet-on-cable television project. The company will start its operations in 2000, and expects to have 50,000 subscribers by April 2001. IndusInd Media Communications, another group company belonging to the Hindujas, with over a million subscribers, currently occupies the top slot among cable TV operators in Mumbai.

Hathway Cable & Datacom, a cable TV services company, also plans to introduce internet through its cable services in Mumbai shortly. It has leased 256 kbps, or kilo bits per second, of bandwidth from Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. The company has set up a hub at Nariman Point in the city and is testing its services  with  companies  like PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Air-India, Oberoi Hotels and Booz Allen & Hamilton.

Accessing the Internet through the cable network could explode the size of the Internet market in India. Among the advantages claimed by cable access providers is speedier access to the Internet and faster downloads.

To avail of this facility, a cable customer must buy a cable modem and a channel splitter. The customer will have to pay only a fixed rent per month to the cable company providing the Internet connection. With a telephone dial-up connection, the customer has to pay per-minute charges to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.

Cable companies are betting that people will prefer cable access to the Internet because they can avoid the cost of a computer. One hitch: the prohibitive price of cable modems, which is around Rs.20,000 at present. The companies are hoping that this price will drop soon with volumes.

Unofficial statistics reveal that around 25 per cent of  Internet users in India visit cyber cafes to browse the net. They would probably begin accessing the Internet through their TVs at home.

 

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Internet through anything is still internet!