Telecom operator to introduce ‘broadband only’ plan without voice call feature

For the first time since its inception, state-owned BSNL will go without a voice call feature in a new scheme.

The ‘broadband only’ scheme being launched in select suburban and rural pockets around Chennai has been conceived by Chennai Telephones to cater to the demand for DataOne services in ‘shadow’ areas which have been ruled as technically non-feasible spots to lay underground copper cables. BSNL has traditionally been offering broadband over the same copper pair cables linking fixed phones to the telephone exchanges and a DataOne service came bundled with a landline connection.

Chennai Telephones spokesperson, G. Vijaya said pockets in places like Ambattur, Thiruvallur, Madippakkam, Nanganallur and Avadi had been identified as ‘technically non feasible’ regions not served by either landlines or Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) stations where there is an unmet demand for broadband. Essentially, these are areas declared non-feasible due to topography constraints or because the capacity of local telephones exchanges are unable to meet emerging demandsfrom a housing boom or sometimes because of shortage of cables.

Under the new ‘broadband only’ scheme, Chennai Telephones will install Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (DSLAM) equipment at the nearest Base Station Transceiver (BTS) in the GSM network and loop a few metres of copper cable to the customer premises to offer uninterrupted broadband in these areas.

“We will be able to provide broadband with a few metres of line instead of budgeting for extended lengths of cable all the way from exchange to the customer premises. The scheme also ties in with the current customer preference for home internet without a fixed phone as mobile phones catered to their voice call needs,” said an official.

With its network of about 2,000 towers across the city and suburbs, BSNL has the logistical heft to use the new scheme to provide home Internet to most areas that are out of the landline/WLL loop. However, the roll out of the scheme will be carefully charted out as it involves installation of expensive DSLAM equipment, the official said.

Internet speeds will be comparable with any of the schemes currently offered for home broadband with voice being the only missing feature. The existing standalone broadband plans such as BBG 250, BB Home ULD 499, BBG 700 and BB Home ULD 750 are proposed to be offered to this new subset of “data-only” customers with some features such as Bandwidth/Download limit and Data Usage Charges remaining the same. However, an additional fixed monthly charge of Rs 50 will be collected in addition to the plan tariff.