ISPs exiting business even as internet looks for explosive growth

At a time when the internet is poised for explosive growth in the country, standalone internet service providers (ISPs) are exiting the business.

The number of small entrepreneurs surrendering their ISP licences to the government had crossed the 500-mark as they found the going tough.

As of now, only around 150 internet companies are operational as against 903 licences issued by the Department of Telecom till date.

According to industry experts, government policies were to blame for the exodus.

Rajesh Chharia, president, Internet Service Providers Association of India, said, when the government opened up the internet space to private players, many entrepreneurs came forward thinking that they could leverage the demand. However, over the last 10 years, standalone internet companies had got a raw deal.

The government's policies are all focused on large telecom companies while offerings of standalone ISPs were curtailed. This resulted in the internet players losing out to large telecom companies.