Customers in Orissa can browse Internet for as low as Rs 5 an hour
Hundreds of cyber cafes across Orissa are fighting hard to attract customers.
While some of them are cutting browsing costs, some are offering tea, and some
All 30 districts of Orissa boast of cyber cafÃ©s. The state capital
Bhubaneswar leads with over 200 cyber cafes while the adjoining cities of
Cuttack and Sambalpur come close with 100 and 80 cyber cafes respectively. Even
when managing costs is critical for their survival the cyber cafes in the urban
areas of Orissa have stiff competition among themselves.
Monoranjan Mohanty runs a cyber cafÃ© at Dhamana Chhak located at the
outskirts of the capital city Bhubaneswar. He has over a dozen Internet-enabled
PCs and charges Rs 10 per hour from his regular customers who have been issued
membership cards. However, he charges Rs 20 per hour from non-members. Mohanty
elaborated,"I was charging Rs 20 from everybody early this year. But back
then there were only five-six cyber cafes in our locality, now we have more than
10 cafes competing for the same customer base.
Students from technical institutes form the major chunk of customers and they
change loyalties with a good deal. Mohanty is also offering a cup of tea to all
his member customers. And it is not Mohanty alone, other cyber cafe owners are
following suit. "We are charging Rs 5 to our members for one hour
browsing," said Rasmi Mohapatra who runs a cafe in Cuttack. This apart,
Mohapatra offers 12 hours of free browsing every month, if the member clocks in
30 browsing hours a month.
Mohapatra lamented, "We don't have a state-level associa-tion of cyber
cafe owners although we do have one in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. There is a
common minimum charge for customers but not all cyber cafes are members. This
makes it difficult to bring the rules in practice. Result: stiff
Add to this the drop in the cost of Internet browsing beca-use of competitive
pack-ages provides by various Internet Service Providers. For example Sky Cable
is offering Internet to home economy customer at only Rs 500 per month for
limi-ted usage hours. For commer-cial use unlimited browsing is being offered at
Rs 4,000 per month. Similar services are being provided by Reliance.