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|November 7, 1998
VSNL attempts answer to the private ISPs poserThe Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited has adopted an aggressive strategy to tackle competition from the private Internet service providers and at the same time exploit demand for international connectivity from these operators.
Following the announcement of the ISP policy, acting CMD Amitabh Kumar has been quoted as saying that the international carrier would launch
Realising the enormous potential in the corporate market, it has also chalked out a plan to offer complete solutions for corporations including mail servers, domain name services and integration of the company networks to the Internet.
This apart, it will implement a project by which subscribers can opt to receive email on their pagers. This service promises to be of tremendous advantage to subscribers who do not possess laptops or expensive 'personal digital assistants' and need to access their mail fairly frequently, even while travelling.
Talks are currently on with paging service operators in major cities and the service should be available by January, Kumar revealed.
VSNL is also pursuing its plan to set up a separate subsidiary to offer these Internet related services, according to Kumar.
The organisation would like to concentrate on its role as an international carrier and gateway while hiving off the ISP divisions to the subsidiary.
However, so far the central government has not shown much enthusiasm to approve it.
The VSNL has the edge with six gateways and 100 MBPS of spare bandwidth. New ISPs would have to establish these links or lease bandwidth from other companies.
An ISP would typically need anything from 2 MBPS to 10 MBPS to start services, depending on the number of subscribers it has.
VSNL plans to capture at least 30 of the 200-odd ISPs that are to apply for licences with its competitive rates, Kumar said.
In fact, VSNL is developing this major business and hopes to earn substantial revenue from leasing bandwidth even in the coming years. It has planned major investments amounting to around $30 million in more of these international cable links.
"There is lot of scope for bulk connectivity," added Kumar.
Fibre optic cables offer the best route to international connectivity. Satellites, on the other hand, are much slower with lower throughput. Regarding reduction in tariff, Kumar said, "It is up to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to okay any change. Normally the incumbent operator is not allowed to reduce charges because it puts the competition at a disadvantage. But this does not mean we won't propose it."
He said tariff for Internet leased lines could be reduced by as much as 50 per cent as capacity goes up.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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