Sify’s hybrid option

This service will come at a comparable or cheaper rate than cable Internet players like Hathway Cable & Datacom, Asianet Satellite Communications and Siti Cable Network charge. Further, subscribers do not have to buy or rent a modem, as they do for cable Internet, or for the digital subscriber line (DSL) connection provided by Dishnet and Bharti Telenet.

For Rs 999 per month, and a onetime installation charge of Rs 3,500, a Sify subscriber gets a broadband connection guaranteeing a minimum speed of 48 kbps, that can go up to a maximum of 64 kpbs. While it costs approximately Rs 33 per hour to browse the net using a dialup connection, Sify’s broadband service costs Rs 25 per hour. There is no restriction on operating systems used on subscribers’ computers.

In the case of corporates, the initial payment is Rs 60,000 and cost for prepaid cards for browsing. Sify offers broadband Internet by setting up base stations in different places in a city. A wireless receiver is fixed at the top of the customer’s building in the line of sight with the base station. From the wireless receiver, the subscriber premises are wired with an Ethernet cable.

The company is also exploring the possibility of working with cable television operators. Started in April 1998, the Rs 157-crore Sify operates in both corporate and consumer segments over a common network infrastructure, and a common technology knowledge base.

“Sify’s key strength has been its ability to leverage its infrastructure for multiple services to corporates and consumers. In addition, Sify’s integrated Internet and e-commerce model enables highly efficient use of infrastructure and other costs. Sify has also used its early mover advantage to get choice customers and choice technology partners,” says David Appasamy, general manager, corporate communications.

Excerpts from an in-depth interview: