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|October 14, 1998||
VSNL has a host of new Web services on the anvilThe Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited is planning a major relaunch if its Internet services for the first time since it began offering Web connectivity on August 15, 1995.
According to VSNL sources, the relaunch, estimated at Rs 150 million, will take place towards the end of the year.
According to sources, the decision was taken after VSNL's recently conducted survey showed that people wanted more features than what were being offered.
It is also understood that the company is finalising a contract to upgrade its systems to offer the services. Sources said the contract for it would be awarded in about a week and that two companies, Wipro and Digital, have been put on the short list.
VSNL has also decided to implement a solution from Netscape Communications Corp, specifically meant for Internet service providers. "When we launched our services, such ISP-specific solutions were not available," said a VSNL source.
Digital had implemented the solution when the company had launched its services. The solution was based on public domain software that was modified to suit VSNL's requirements.
Once the relaunch is through, it will offer a lot of flexibility to present and potential subscribers of VSNL's Internet services. For instance, users will be able to open, renew and modify their Internet accounts online by just hitting VSNL's Web site. "Customers will only have to fill forms online and punch in their credit-card number. We will authenticate the information on an online basis and complete the request instantly," said a VSNL source.
For this purpose, the company is installing a secure electronic-transaction solution from Verifone Inc, which is a subsidiary of the US-based computer major Hewlett Packard.
In addition, the company plans to tie up with international consortia to offer international roaming services. With this, users will be able to log on to the VSNL server and check their email or browse the Web from anywhere in the world by just making a local call.
At present, users travelling abroad have to make a long-distance call to India to check their email. "Consortia like Ipass and Ainquest have agreements with ISPs worldwide and by tying up with them, we will be able to provide access to the VSNL server from anywhere in the world," said a source.
VSNL is also installing solutions to make domestic roaming easier. At present, users who have an account in Bombay and are travelling to Delhi have to dial into the Delhi Internet node, which verifies their account with the Bombay node and then gives access, thus slowing down the process considerably.
However, with the new solution, the database containing details of users will be replicated at all nodes, making the process of accessing accounts faster and easier.
VSNL will also offer virtual domains to corporations after the relaunch. For instance, if a company wants to give email accounts to 100 of its employees, it need not open 100 accounts, VSNL will offer the company a domain name on a virtual basis and create 100 accounts within that name.
This, according to sources, will result in huge savings for corporations.
VSNL, which plans to offer the option of having multiple email accounts within an Internet account, proposes to install security systems to make Internet services less prone to hacking.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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