Category Archives: Broadband

Broadband in India

Broadband subscribers in India at 1.7 Million

According to the latest press release by TRAI,[PDF] broadband subscribers in India are at 1.7 Million at the end of Auguest-2006. TRAI has been aggressively reviewing the broadband policy to ensure higher penetration and growth rates in the next 3 years. Today it issued guidelines, for acceptable Quality of Service, failing which the broadband service provider is under obligation to refund monthly subscription fees.

Some of the key directions by TRAI are as follows,

  • If there is a fault in the broadband services for more than seven days and less than 15 days, then the operator should return a monthly rental equivalent to 15 days and if broadband connection is down for more than 15 days, then the subscriber is entitled for a refund of monthly rental or equivalent usage amount.
  • Broadband connections should be installed within 15 days of application. A subscriber should be given a credit at the rate of Rs 10 per day if connection for any delay.
  • There should be less than 2% billing complaints and all the billing related complaints should be resolved within four weeks.

3 Cheers to TRAI and Nripendra Misra as this regulation was very much essential. However, to what extent the service providers will comply is everyones guess.

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Indians likely to go the Mobile TV way

KSBKBT.jpgI have been covering the IPTV Hype in India since July. Questionnaire sent to IOL Broadband Limited(Partners for MTNL’s TriBand IPTV) and Bharti Airtel Limited were unanswered even after months of following up. Maybe they are not ready yet ?

Cable TV guys who operated in a secured environment for over a decade are now facing the heat from DishTV India and Tata Sky Dish TV. IPTV still in nascent stages is unlikely to see the huge demand witnessed by Dish TVs, because the situation of broadband is still pathetic in India.

However, their is a new entrant to give you a run for your money, Mobile TVStar TV India, Chief Executive, Peter Mukerjea is very optimistic about the prospects of distributing his channels content over Mobile phones, converging towards Mobile TVs. In a statement he said,

“Today, we already have The Great Indian Laughter Challenge video clips available on the mobile phone. We are looking at making available more shows on the wireless medium now.” He also added that, In India, 70% of the revenues for content distribution over Mobile Phones is retained by the Cellco while the content developer gets the rest. He hopes to see this equation change to 70% in favor of content developers very soon.

Insiders learn that video clips of Star Plus’ most popular serial, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, could be made available on mobile phones. I would be inclined to agree with Peter as the average Indian is so addicted to his Mobile that he is willing to spend few more bucks to carry his favorite TV shows and clips with him. Your thoughts, critics are welcome.

Indian Online Advertising Trends

Dainik Jagran and Times Network might be the largest circulated dailies in India, but a new trend is emerging in the Indian Advertising market – Internet Advertising, much in line with the global markets.

A 2004 McKinsey & Co report suggests that between 2000 and 2004, the US newspaper market lost around $2 Billion to online classified websites.

In this chart we can clearly see that online classified advertising is growing rapidly. Between 2004-05 and 2005-06 it grew by 80% and for FY 2006-07 it is expected to grow by 50% over previous FY. Online classified advertising is expected to beat print classifieds in FY 2008-09.

The total Indian advertising market for last FY was around Rs16,267 crores ($4 Billion) of which the print media grabbed $2 Billion. However, with heightened Venture Capital activity and internet penetration we can expect more advertisers shifting to online and mobile media from newspapers and magazines.

Source for Chart – Busienss World, 9/11 Issue.


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.