Chennai

Govt. to roll out low-cost broadband

Leveraging the last mile connectivity provided by local cable television operators, the State government has plans to provide internet services to about one crore households at an “affordable” price by early next year.

On Monday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced in the Assembly her government’s decision to provide hi-speed broadband and other internet services along with Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), making use of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) licence obtained by the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation.

Making a suo motu statement in the Assembly, she said since all the village panchayats in Tamil Nadu were to be linked under the Bharatnet scheme, the State government would utilise the ISP-unified licence, covering the entire State, including Chennai, and provide quality internet service to all households.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said Arasu Cable TV Corporation had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Railtel Corporation of India Ltd to provide hi-speed broadband and other internet services. A total of 552 local cable TV operators have registered with the Arasu Cable TV Corporation are providing service.

FibreNet Corporation

The Chief Minister also announced creation of the Tamil Nadu FibreNet Corporation to implement the Central government’s Bharatnet scheme to link village panchayats through optical fibre. It will be implemented with contributions from the Centre.

She said when the Bharatnet scheme was announced she made it clear that the State government would implement it on its own. “Now the Centre has granted its nod. As per the scheme, 12,524 village panchayats will be linked through optical fibre and people can avail themselves of the schemes of the government,” she said.

70 lakh subscribers

According to sources in the Arasu Cable TV Corporation, the subscriber base is 70.52 lakh. The bandwidth required would be purchased from international players so that the services could be offered to the two lakh government buildings initially and then to households with the Arasu cable connections, sources said.

Additional procurement of equipment would be necessary at the four digital high end centres covering the entire State before the internet services could be rolled out, sources said.

The Corporation has roped in Pricewaterhouse Coopers as the consultant to prepare the business plan and provide support services for its foray into internet services and other value added services, the sources said, adding that a few business models were being studied.

As Smart TVs are slowly entering homes, mostly in urban areas, the corporation would be able to tap into a good revenue model in the cities in future, hope officials. There are also plans to provide video-on-demand services.

The corporation would roll out services early next year, the sources said.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 3:53:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/govt-to-roll-out-lowcost-broadband/article7653409.ece

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