India’s Broadband Tragedy

Shrikant Patil nails the problem: “The government had forecasted 3 million Broadband lines to be deployed by December 05. To date only only 0.61 million have been deployed. Private operators, likes of Bharti, Sify etc. have deployed 0.35 million and the two PSUs, BSNL and MTNL that control 40+ million lines of copper have deployed only 0.26 million vs a target of 1.5 million. Two main issues come to mind, the incumbents are too busy rolling out their wireless networks just bridging the supply demand gap. The other lack of aviable wireless broadband technology and the delayed commits of Wimax. To both these issues unbundling of fixed lines will be key. Indias urgent need, virtual Broadband operators, that can lease bulk Copper lines from BSNL and MTNL and provide broadband services. DSL continues to be the most compelling and viable technology for India. I have DataOne broadband service from BSNL, it works, is always on, have WLAN signal around my house and for most part a good experience. However the marketing, demand creation and provisioning can only be expedited, by unbundling the last mile to new operators focussed on deploying broadband. Indias broadband tragedy continues to be a blend of a control freaked bureaucracy and Public Sector Units exercising control to impede competition.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.