India faces the daunting task of clearing three major hurdles in popularizing
broadband service in the country - infrastructure, content and affordable access
devices. While continuing to be one of the largest markets in the world for
broadband services, service providers continue to feel the pinch of absence of
these three factors.
While the country is making steady progress with the help of a pro-active
government in building a robust infrastructure, the corporate are making huge
efforts in creating the huge content pool. As for making access devices
affordable and available, demand will be the only way prices can be slashed in
these devices. Classic examples would be mobile phones, Internet and PCs whose
demand drove the products and service to become affordable.
These were some of the points raised at the panel discussion on ‘Gearing up
for broadband’ held by Voice and Data along with UTStarcomm. The discussion
was divided into three ses-sions–‘The broadband value chain’, ‘Understanding
the broadband customer’ and ‘The technology options’.
With Prithipal Singh, CMD, BSNL, announcing 2004, as the year of broadband,
companies like Sify, Dishnet, Reliance are making huge investments and efforts
in building a strong network in this service. Delivering the keynote address,
Singh said that development of broadband is the most important element in moving
the whole society forward and should be given a national priority. He added that
the global broadband market is currently pegged at $ 30 billion and is expected
to grow at an average growth rate of 23 percent to $ 80 billion in the next five
years. He also informed that BSNL is planning to launch broadband services in
the next one-two months in some cities and is currently setting up the
In the second phase, within a year’s time, NIP would be complete. The
panelists agreed that there is not one single killer app that is going to drive
the broadband market in India, due to the diversity prevalent in the country.
What is needed is localized content catering to the common person–specific and
close to the heart of the masses. Also users need to be educated about the
advantages of using broadband. Without such awareness, the widespread use of
broadband will not be achieved.
The home market is the major target segment of broadband providers other than
SMEs and corporate. There would be three key drivers of broadband content in
future- bollywood, cricket and music. According to BD Khurana, Group President,
Reliance Infocomm, customers would not be willing to pay more than what they are
paying at present for access. Key to success will not be the price point.
Consumer will have to pay for whatever he will view or use. The panelists
included VP Sinha, Director, BSNL; Chirag Mehta, CEO, IceNet; Yogesh Bijlani,
VP, UTStarcom; Rahul Swarup, President, Sify; Anil Prakash, Secretary, TUGI;
Amitabh Singhal, Secretary, ISPAI; SN Gupta, Advisor, TRAI; Manoj Paul, GM,
Bharti Infotel among others.
(CyberMedia News Service)