Cyber cafes in stiff competition

DQW Bureau
05 Jan 2005
New Update


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

others tea-plus-snacks.

All 30 districts of Orissa boast of cyber cafés. 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 café 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.

Manoj Dash


(CyberMedia News)