Rashi to WiFi 10 IT hubs in India

DQW Bureau
28 Jun 2005
New Update


Nehru Place will be the company's first hotspot

Mumbai-based distributor, Rashi Peripherals, is undertaking an initiative to

turn 10 IT hubs across India into WiFi hotspots. Nehru Place, one of the biggest

IT marketplaces, this July will become the first on the company's list of 10

markets to be networked within the next quarter.

Rashi will invest on an average Rs 1 lakh for each of the installations. The

wireless hardware and technology will be provided by its principal, Netgear

International Inc. The distribution house is currently negotiating with Internet

Service Providers (ISPs) to determine how the connectivity charges should be



"We will provide the infrastructure, but the ISP will have to decide how

the users will be charged," disclosed Rajesh Goenka, Divisional Head, Rashi


While Rashi will provide post-sales support for the hardware, the daily

maintenance is to be managed by the ISP or a nodal agency. "It is yet to be

decided," said Goenka. The service provider will also address access and

content security issue to ensure that user machines are not targeted by

malicious programs or spam.

For a distributor to get into the actual installation and integration is a

departure from the regular business practice. Rashi has stra-tegically decided

to offer solutions in the networking. The company has demarcated its

distribution busi-ness into three verticals: components, portables and

networking. For the first two, the distribution does not have to offer any value

added services to propel business. But Goenka believes that networking is a

different ball game altogether.


"As a distributor for Netgear, we have to propagate the concept of

wireless connectivity and the best way to do it is to set up WiFi zones in the

IT channel districts. As more partners use the technology, they will become more

comfortable in selling it," said Goenka. Also, users can get a first hand

WiFi experience, which will ultimately boost demand, he added.

Currently, networking contributes six percent of Rashi's overall business

and Goenka sees this contribution doubling within the next 24 months. Though

Netgear offers support through its team of service engineers and a call center,

Rashi is training its internal staff to provide the last-mile support in smaller

cities, which are part of its 37-office network.

Vinita Bhatia