10 Million Broadband Users By 2010: YOU Telecom
With the Indian broadband services industry falling well short of achieving its previously set target of 3 million subscribers by the end of 2005, it’s easy to assume that the all the euphoria must have gone bust after seeing the recent numbers. But that hardly seems to be the case.
In fact, market watchers are of the opinion that not too many Internet service providers (ISPs) have lost faith in the segment and believe that though the growth is slow now, the industry will witness an ascent in the coming years.
YOU Telecom, previously known as Iqara Telecom, is an ISP subscribing to this encouraging theory and is in a fairly bullish mood. Armed with a new name, new products and services catering to different customer segments including home and business, the ISP is optimistic about the road ahead.
E.V.S. Chakravarthy, CEO, YOU Telecom discussed some of the finer issues related to the broadband industry and YOU’s future plans.
“Though the broadband Internet access segment couldn’t hit the highs it was expected to, we firmly believe that India holds a great promise for it. Currently, there are about 1.4 million broadband subscribers in the country with more than 10000 new subscribers coming onboard and accessing net through broadband every month,” said Chakravarthy.
Elaborating on the reasons for the shortcomings, he said, “Lack of sufficient applications is proving to be the biggest hurdle in the growth of the segment. By providing users with enough things to do on the net, one can really pave the way for broadband proliferation. With increased user awareness of the benefits of the access technology coupled with factors such as affordability and superior service we can get the count to 10 million by 2010.”
About 30% of YOU’s total business comes from the SME and corporate segment with leased lines. The company is looking to build further on its reach in the burgeoning space by offering new services such as messaging, remote access and network management, and disaster recovery to support enterprise centric functions.
IP telephony is another area where the company views potential opportunities and hence recently introduced YOU Call broadband telephony products and services. Among other things it is offering an IP phone, a plug-and-play device that can be used by customers (home and business) to make calls to foreign countries such as US and UK for as low as Rs.1.25/- per minute.
An approver of DoT’s 2004 Broadband Policy, Chakravarthy believed that it not only boosted broadband reputation as a key access medium, but also gave much needed impetus to the growth of the basic infrastructure in the country.
Though measures such as allowing DTH operators to offer broadband services, de-licensing of 2.40-2.48 GHz band for low-power outdoor use and directives on Quality of Service issues for ISPs were positive ones by the government in 2004, a lot of issues such as unbundling of the local loop, relaxation in import duties and service taxes still remain to be resolved.
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