Category Archives: Broadband

Broadband in India

Dish TV or Triple Play ?

I read a review of Tata Sky TV which prompted me to peek at Zee’s Dish TV offering. I must admit that I have been lagging behind in using or atleast testing these two services. I was kind of lost thinking that IPTV is the way to go. But lets have a closer look. Dish TV services, both by Tata and Zee are not bad at all. Their picture quality is better than our local cable provider but not the DVD quality which they claim. Sound is as good as played on an original track CD. The choice of channels is directly proportional to the depth of your pocket 🙂 On an average the service costs Rs300/month

I am beginning to doubt about how IPTV can be offered at a price of just Rs300/Month. Airtel-Broadband’s DSL in Karantaka costs Rs250 for downloading 400MB of data. If you want the same quality of Audio and Video as that of Dish TV, I atleast want a speed of 512KBPs(with all complex compression techniques), 1MBPS recommended. Current bandwidth costs for 1MBPs line are way too high. Also, you cannot force a customer to opt for high speed expensive broadband and then push him into the bouqet of IPTV. I had requested the results of Bharti-Airtel’s pilot project on IPTV in Delhi and the request just got passed from one to another without reciving any response. This makes me wonder if the results were awful to be published ?

Traditional and Dish TV is very popular amongst Indians while IPTV may not see the same demand. Dish TV with a DVR will also let you view movies on demand, play games, record a TV serial in background while your kid watches a cricket match and will definitely be cheaper than IPTV. Maybe this is the reason why Reliance is silent on its Dish or IPTV plans and in the next few months we will know if Mittal has his midas touch on Airtel’s Triple Play 😉

Govt crackdown on Illegal VoIP calls.

Even though net telephony is legal in India from Jan-2006, their is still lot of il-legal termination of these calls on PSTN circuits /landphones without proper agreement and royalties. In a letter to the DoT, the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) said:

Internet telephony services can be offered in India either by an ISP specifically permitted to do so or by a unified access service licensee. However, several service providers such as Skype, Net2Phone, Yahoo, and MSN, are providing Internet telephony services to people in India. Most of these foreign service providers do offer termination in Indian fixed-line telephones as well.

Also, such service offering is resulting in loss of revenue to the Government by way of licence fee as well as by way of service tax.

As usual, our Government is too slow to act and its policies way too old for the fast changing world of technology. Ultimate loser is the consumer.

Triple Play in India – Hype & Hurdles

Triple Play – Phone, Internet and TV(Cable, IPTV, DishTV) is the new buzzword amongst Indian telcos. BSNL and Bharti – Airtel are planning to introduce IPTV while Tatas has joined hands with Star TV to offer Tata-Sky DTH(Dish) service. Reliance Communications has announced mega plans through its subsidiary, Reliance BlueMagic but its still not yet clear if they want to provide either Dish or IPTV or both. DishTV which earlier obtained an order from TDSAT has now moved to the Supreme Court over Star TVs high pricing. Reminds me of the ugly cable wars of late 90s.

BSNL which started its piolt project in Pune is now expanding it to other parts of the country. It makes sense for BSNL to take the IPTV route via ADSL broadband because of the abundant copper cable network it has to reach the end customer. BSNL added 10 more exchanges to the existing 8 so that they have a central office every 4 Kms radius. However, Bharti-Airtel has very thin penetration of its broadband as well as land phones. Here is the questionnaire I have sent to Bharti-Airtel.

Looks like Triple play is doing extremely well in Asia while telecom executives are skeptical about it brining any revenues in the US. In a separate development, Tech Mahindra announced their plans to offer IPTV solutions to Indian service providers.

BSNL & MTNL oppose to opneing their pipes

BSNL & MTNL which together have 90% of India’s wirelines(landline) subscribers are opposed to opening their pipes to be accessed by private operators to provide broadband services. Broadband in India is termed as any “always-on” internet connection offering a speed of 256KBPs or more.

BSNL & MTNL together have 40 million(4 crores) wireline subscribers. TRAI had earlier recommended that BSNL and MTNL open their pipes to private operators because most of the recent growth in telecom has been in the wireless segment. BSNL & MTNL are of the opinion that private operators lay down their own pipe, which has been a very slow process till now. Private operators like Reliance which have more than 40,000Km fibre optic network connecting every remote village is unable to use it and most of Reliance Infocomms bandwidth is dark fibre. BSNL and MTNL provide their own broadband services – DataOne Broadband and Triband Broadband respectively.