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|October 29, 1998||
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, the government owned overseas telecommunications monopoly, sees a total investment of Rs 50.31 billion, spread over the Ninth Five-Year Plan period of 1997-2002.
In 1997-98, VSNL had invested Rs 4.47 billion in capital expenditure, or CAPEX, programmes.
The CAPEX programme for the current year involves approximately Rs 11 billion. The money would be spent on projects like the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical fibre systems that would provide significant additional global connectivity.
The CAPEX programme also includes the setting up of a network management centre, additional earth station antennas for video uplinking and data gateways at Kanpur and Gandhinagar, investment in new ATM technologies and value-added services.
A joint venture for mobile satellite services and a subsidiary for value-added services are also in the offing.
Amitabh Kumar, acting chairman and managing director, claims "VSNL has been a vehicle for India's thrust in information technology through its facilitation of international connectivity through over 800 leased lines 150,000 Internet connections and 350 Internet and managed data network leased lines. With the connectivity for data services exceeding 100 MBPS, VSNL has played a significant role in connecting India to the rest of the world and has helped in the growth of the Rs 11,000 crore (Rs 110 billion) software industry in the country."
Kumar recently presented a dividend cheque of Rs 246.8 million to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The government owns 65.97 per cent of VSNL equity and the dividend cheque represents a payout of Rs 4 per share on the outstanding share capital as against Rs 3.50 per share last year.
The total dividend payout for 1997-98 is Rs 380 million. It represents 3.92 per cent of VSNL's profit after tax.
The company will retain the balance profit to fund its ambitious expenditure programme to strengthen the infrastructure and harness its resources for global competition.
Kumar claimed that the strong and consistently improving performance of the company is a result of focus on core technologies and efficient resource management.
The company has been continuously expanding its gateways and fibre and satellite networks.
VSNL's total contribution to the national exchequer for 1997-98 is Rs 51.86 billion. The amount breaks up into (i) Rs 4.74 million network payment to the Department of Telecommunications, (ii) income tax of Rs 4.2 billion and (iii) dividend to the government of Rs 247 million.
With telephony revenues comprising 95 per cent of all revenues, VSNL had diversified into the provision of Internet, video and managed data services. These new services accounted for revenue of Rs 3 billion in 1997-98.
VSNL provides over 800 private leased lines, 350 Internet leased lines and 150,000 Internet accounts. The high-speed leased line services provided by VSNL continues to be a vehicle for development of the IT industry in the country through its range of advanced telematic services.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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