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Summary:

Indian incumbent phone company, BSNL is betting that 2007 is going to be a big year for broadband and is spending to make it real. The company is planning to boost speeds of their DSL offering to 2 megabits per second from 256 kbps. They will […]

Indian incumbent phone company, BSNL is betting that 2007 is going to be a big year for broadband and is spending to make it real. The company is planning to boost speeds of their DSL offering to 2 megabits per second from 256 kbps. They will sell this service for about 250 rupees or about $7 a month. BSNL hopes that this bargain basement price would allow the company to add over 800,000 new connections in 2007.

India had 1.92 million high-speed connections at the end of October 2006, up from 690,000 in October 2005. BSNL, for some ludicrous reason insists on charging people for downloads, which I think defeats the purpose of signing up for an always-on connection.

These restrictive plans will slowdown the growth of consumer Internet services in the country, as people would tend to ration the amount they spend using broadband connections. BSNL has plans for an online gaming service.

  1. Do we know who will power their network?

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  2. Every ISP in this country has plans based on data downloaded/uploaded. Its not only BSNL but Bharti and others too. Only a few exorbitantly priced plans (and that too at low speeds of <=256 kbps) in their portfolio are actually always on connections.

    The ISPs have begun the practice of offering ‘night free’ plans where unlimited data transfer is allowed but only between 9pm to 8am. These plans however limit your day time data transfer to stupidly low levels of 300MB or around that.

    The move by BSNL may lure new customers but i agree with you that the rationing is the only logical outcome.

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  3. I am missing the link between “always on connection” and unlimited bandwidth download. Why do they go together? I thought that in most places (with a few exceptions like US) this is the case.

    But then I take issue with ISPs placing limit on download bandwidth. After all download bandwidth consumption by the subscribers of an ISP place them at a favorable position from the peering point of view. If anything they should charge me for the consumption of upload bandwidth (after providing me near symmetric connection).

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  4. I have a always-on (unlimited) connection, but I pay $20 for it and I the speed is 256k. It’s really pathetic. I’ve tried all the different ISPs here in Poona/Pune, and this is the best deal I could get. My DSL provider is Airtel Broadband. The worst ISP here is Sify. THE WORST.

    I wish companies would start offering 1 and 2mbps always-on (unlimited) connections. I’d be willing to pay upto $40 for one.

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  5. Aswath

    some the downloads are capped in India, though that is not the case in many other countries say in Europe or even in other parts of Asia. because the download limits are capped, many of the bandwidth intensive apps such as the venice project cannot be used.

    or imagine watching youtube videos and suddenly finding there is a meter ticking. I don’t think download part adds to the overall experience of having a broadband connection.

    many of my friends log in, check their mail, do their internet thing, and then shut down the connection, worried that they might actually shoot over the download quota etc.

    not exactly a good situation to encourage broadband usage.

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  6. BSNL has an unlimited usage 256 kbps plan for 900 rupees (~20 USD) per month. Moreover there is choice of not paying for phone line rental i.e. naked DSL.

    My folks in Pune have it and it has been working fine for the last 6 months.

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  7. This is really frustrating. India takes 2 steps forward only to find itself taking 1.5 steps backward at the same time. I would pay $40-50/month for unlimited usage for even 512. The Indian Govt. is punishing heavy downloaders and those with VoIPs. If India wants to advance the ITES/Outsourcing boom further, they should allow unlimited usage in the home. Imagine working from home and how much outsourcing costs could fall.

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  8. And who is Sify Broadband Techwhack ?

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  9. What does this mean for Residential versus Cyber-Cafe based usage? How does one look at the 1.92M number? Offerings focused on cyber-cafes (like Sify I assume) have a great business model in controlling usage/download. Is fixed line broadband ever going to be a challenger to wireless bb in India when the latter does take off?

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  10. Rs.250 is a competitive rate for the Indian household especially as young SW engineers emerge in homes that could erstwhile not afford to spend Rs250 on internet, this would be good. It is a far cry from Rs500 per month that we used to spend on lousy dial up connections. I suppose charging for downloads is a way of market differentiation and to meter the usage for the price much like the Cellular Data plans which could be good to make quick bucks for telcos in the infancy of broadband in India.

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