Even though the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is trying to bring down bandwidth prices, it’s still a fact that Indians will continue to pay among the highest prices in the world for bandwidth. A large part of the blame for this lies at the doors of the government, which has repeatedly mucked up important issues such as the entry of private players by tying them up in miles of red tape under the pretext of security.
Other issues such as the lack of powerful Internet Exchanges (again the government’s fault) and VSNL’s own monopolistic attitude are also to blame. Yet, finally there seems to be a sliver of light at the end of India’s bandwidth tunnel. But is it a case of too little, too late?
Take the IT-enabled services (ITeS) industry, for instance. Reliable bandwidth is an imperative here and reduced bandwidth prices will obviously reduce the ever-increasing pressure on the margins of Indian ITeS companies. But the issue here isn’t just about price, it’s also about Quality of Service (QoS), which should perhaps become TRAI’s driving mission, considering the awful quality of service on almost every spoke of India’s telecom wheel.
With reduced bandwidth prices and improved QoS, India’s ITeS brigade could power themselves to even greater heights-it would easily be a case of saying, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” Here’s how:
Because of night shifts and high attrition rates, ITeS vendors are forced to provide pick-ups and drops to employees. One recent estimate revealed that companies spend anywhere between Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 per employee, per month, on this service.
If QoS could be ensured, I’d wager that quite a few ITeS vendors would allow many of their experienced employees to telecommute-because at less than the cost of transport, they’d be able to lease a PC and provide broadband bandwidth. Costs would also be saved on expensive real estate.
This is not some fantasy scenario. This topic first came up in a discussion with the CTO of one of India’s largest ITeS companies. He’s willing to try it out, but he wants QoS assurances.
Any service provider willing to provide the assurance? It’s time TRAI ensured that every Indian service provider is forced to provide QoS guarantees-not only would it mean a better experience for Indian Net users, it would also mean billions of dollars in increased revenues for Indian ITeS companies–which certainly isn’t a bad thing for the nation.
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