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May 27, 1998


DoT floats Rs 750-m tender to build national backbone

Email this story to a friend. The Department of Telecommunications has floated a Rs 750-million tender for the creation of a nation-wide Internet backbone-cum-service provider network, even as business plans of private Internet service providers await the decision of the Delhi high court on the validity of the Internet policy.

The tenders would be opened in early June. According to DoT's plan, the network would be three-tiered. At the top would be 'Type A' locations such as
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Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Pune, where gateways would be located.

The proxy server, billing server, network management systems and the test bed would be housed in Delhi. Another billing server and NMS would be located at Bombay and a proxy server would be set up in Bangalore.

The other three cities would have only gateways. Other Type A locations without gateways include Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Patna, Jalandhar, Ernakulum and Jaipur.

Beneath this would be 28 'Type B' cities including Agra, Allahabad, Coimbatore, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Madurai, Noida, Rajkot, Shillong and Surat.

Below this would be the 'Type C' towns which would be aggregated around the 'Type B' towns.

A hundred and six locations have been envisaged in the first phase.

The network would function as the Internet backbone that other private ISPs would link to and as the network for DoT's Internet service.

The DoT's ISP service is projected to have a total customer base of 10,500 customers in 1998-4,800 in Type A towns, another 4,800 in Type B towns and 900 in Type C towns.

The numbers are expected to increase to 52,800 by 2000, a fourth of the projected subscriber base of 1.5-2 million by the turn of the century. It has been projected that there would be 33,600 subscribers in Type A towns, 14,400 in Type B towns and 4,800 in Type C towns.

The structure of the network would be such as to enable private ISPs, leased lines and virtual private networks to link to the backbone at the level of Type A towns (those with and without gateways) as well as at the Type B level.

The technology option for the tender has been left open, and options include a router-based network, ATM and frame relay networks. The speed of the network is not indicated, though with private ISPs planned at 2 MBPS, the speed of the network can be projected to be between 8-34 MBPS, according to industry calculations.

According to the tender, bidders or their equipment suppliers should have the experience of having set up a 20-node network, linking at least 50,000 subscribers. Both hardware and software components should have been in use for at least six months in the network of an ISP, according to the tender.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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