Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2 Mbps connections only for existing customers..atleast till March 2007

Even though communications and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran has announced 2007 as the year of the broadband, with state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd likely to provide connections with a minimum download speed of 2 mbps from January 1, consumers seeking a fresh connection may be in for a shock.

According to BSNL executives, the company will only be able to upgrade its existing subscribers from a minimum download speed of 256 kbps to 2 mbps and will not be able to offer fresh connections until March 2007.

BSNL’s existing capacity of 1 million ports is full and though it has placed orders for another 5 million ports, they will not be in place before March.

Executives said, had the minister made the new offer applicable from the new financial year, the company would have been in a position to offer bulk fresh connections right when the scheme began. At present, a 256 kbps broadband connection of BSNL comes at a monthly charge of Rs 250, which will remain unchanged for 2 mbps.

They said upgrading broadband connections at the same tariff losses would see losses being set off with higher volumes. However, it would take three months to achieve higher volumes.

BSNL, India’s largest Internet service provider, has a market share of 44% with about 9 lakh broadband subscribers.

Effective January 1, BSNL's current broadband plans will also undergo changes. The download limit in Home 250 and Business 700 plans are being enhanced to 1 GB and 4 GB from 400 MB and 2 GB, respectively. It is also bringing down the per-MB download rates from Rs 1.40 an MB to Rs 0.90 an MB in the Home 250 plan.

India has 3 million broadband subscribers.

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