Telecom major is hopeful of accelerated broadband penetration through the new service

Kuldeep Goyal, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., (BSNL) on Friday exuded confidence that the prepaid broadband service will foment broadband penetration in the country just as the prepaid mobile service that broadened the mobile subscriber base accounting for 93 per cent of the total mobile connections.

Mr. Goyal was speaking after the national launch of BSNL Prepaid Broadband Connection here. There was no better place than Bangalore for the national launch of the prepaid broadband service as the Bangalore Telecom District has the highest number of broadband connections with over 3.27 lakh connections, he said.

Stating that broadband penetration in the country was not on the expected lines and not matching the targets, Mr. Goyal said BSNL was hopeful of achieving at least 50 per cent of the 20 million connection target set for 2010 on its own. Out of seven million connections in the country, BSNL’s share was 4.3 million, he said, and hoped to achieve 10 million connections by the end of this financial year.

Robust infrastructure

For broadband penetration into the nooks and corners of the country, BSNL has made 23,000 out of 27,000 of its rural telephone exchanges broadband enabled. BSNL will also be launching shortly broadband on Wimax across the country even as the equipment has been installed in 1,000 out of 10,000 blocks. By the end of this financial year, all blocks will be covered by Wimax broadband, Mr. Goyal said.

There were also plans to offer high-speed broadband connectivity, ranging from 100 mega bytes to one giga byte using optical fibre cables across the country, he added.

New business opportunities

Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Goyal said BSNL was exploring new business vistas to be more vibrant and has already participated in biddings for telecom services in African countries. Sharing its infrastructure with other players was another move by BSNL to make best utilisation of the infrastructure. The company has set apart Rs. 14,000 crore for capacity expansion during the current fiscal.

Phased expansion

The prepaid broadband service which was launched in Karnataka Telecom Circle on Friday, will be expanded to other places in a phased manner, said A.K. Jain, General Manager (broadband), BSNL Corporate Office. While places in South Zone will be covered by November 15, 85 important cities, and probably, the entire country will be brought under the new service by December 15, he added.

Karnataka Network

Speaking on the occasion, Karnataka Secretary for E-governance M.N. Vidyashankar said the State government, in association with BSNL will launch the Karnataka State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) interlinking 2,995 offices across the State next month. The WAN will offer uninterrupted connectivity between various departments round the clock, he added.

Telecom Consultancy India Ltd., CMD R.K. Upadhyay, Karnataka Circle Chief General Manager P. Raghavan and BTD Principal General Manager Shubhendu Ghosh were present.

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