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|August 24, 1998||
Microsoft, Compaq join Sterling's ISP ventureMicrosoft and Compaq have decided to join hands with Sterling Group for its proposed private nationwide Internet service.
The Sterling group is among the dozen companies that have sought government permission for becoming Internet service providers. It is promoted by C Sivasankaran.
Microsoft has promised the Sterling Group six million Internet subscribers in India within five years from the launch of the service, ETH Research Lab and Dishnet Chairman Vijay P Bhatkar has been reported as saying.
The proposed private nationwide Internet service would be called ETH.NET. "The ETH Internet operations would be carried out through Dishnet, a new company formed under the umbrella of the Sterling group," Bhatkar said, adding, "both Microsoft and Compaq would be our technology providing partners".
Dishnet will also sustain the venture's education-to-home mission. According to Bhatkar, the project cost is pegged around Rs 4 billion and will be funded by the Sterling Group and financial institutions.
"The pattern of funding has not been finalised yet," Bhatkar said. Microsoft and Compaq would, however, have no equity participation in the venture. Compaq will provide servers and other hardware only.
"The proposed venture would deploy Microsoft's commercial Internet service," Bhatkar said.
Senior officials of the Department of Telecom said a formal clearance to interested private parties for providing Internet services would be given after the cabinet approves the new licensing norms for ISPs next month.
A cabinet note to this effect would be sent in about 15 days, the officials said. DoT has decided to extended the licence period for ISPs from 10 years to 15 years, as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the Prime Minister's Information Technology Taskforce.
DoT is also considering doing away with the performance bank guarantees prescribed in the Internet licence agreement issued by the government earlier this year.
DoT had suggested a bank guarantee of Rs 20 million for a nationwide ISP licence, Rs 2 million for a state or metro licence and Rs 300,000 for a city licence.
It has been suggested to the department that it adopt other means to ensure that private ISPs meet performance parameters and commercial conditions.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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