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.