Rediff Logo Infotech Find/Feedback/Site Index
October 5, 1999


Search Rediff

64KBPS@home! Dishnet has announced DSL service for corps and housing societies. Priya Ganapati

Dishnet Limited, a 100 per cent subsidiary of the Sterling Group of companies, plans to offer digital subscriber lines to corporate and home users.

Email this story to a friend.

Dishnet has tied up with Japanese company Sumitomo Electric Industries Limited to start DSL services in Bombay by October 15.

Dishnet to offer DSL
Fatehabad is landmark
Infosys results on Net
Prakash Arya, managing director, Dishnet, told Rediff, "We hope to start operations by October. We will focus on corporations and large housing societies in cities like Bombay, Delhi and Madras. We will work out different tariff structures for different segments using the service."

DSL is a modem technology that transforms ordinary phone lines into high-speed digital lines for fast Internet access. This is because DSL deploys modems that use digital coding techniques to squeeze more capacity into analogue phone lines.

For users, this means continuous access to the Internet or corporate 'local area networks' at speeds that are over 25 times faster than the existing 56.6 KBPS modems.

Arya elaborates on the target audience for this service. "We are not targeting the retailer segment. But we are in talks with some elite housing societies like Hiranandani and Raheja's in Bombay for this service. We can offer DSL to any housing society with a minimum of 25 houses that will subscribe to this service," he says.

Dishnet plans to offer DSL service to home users for Rs 2,000 per month while corporations would have to shell out Rs 10,000 per month.

For the home users DSL lines would mean 24-hour Net access on a line with a minimum speed of 64 KBPS.

The real catch in this too good-to-be-true offer is the cost of the DSL modem. The modem costs Rs 30,000 and this is where Dishnet's tie-up with Sumitomo comes in.

Sumitomo will retail the ADSL modems that offer up to 1.5 MBPS downstream and 512 KBPS upstream transmissions. The modems also enable simultaneous use of voice communications over existing subscriber telephone lines. Users can even talk on the phone or send a fax while browsing on the Net on the same line.

Arya says Dishnet does not plan to offer subscribers any finance or lease schemes to offset the high one-time cost for DSL modems. "We do not have any plans for finance schemes. I agree that the costs are quite high but it is a one-time cost. Users have to remember that they will have no telephone bills if they use DSL," he points out.

Here's how the DSL set up will work:

At your home or office you need a PC with an Ethernet NIC card connected to a DSL modem. The modem would be wired to a DSL circuit that DoT or MTNL would install at your location. The circuit would be connected via phone lines to another DSL circuit residing in the central office of DoT or MTNL.

Dishnet promises to do the service installation and provisioning so that the subscribers would not have to deal with DoT or MTNL.

Arya elaborates "We will provide each set of subscribers with the DSL rack that will cost us about Rs 250,000. Each rack can hold a maximum of 96 modems. However, these racks will be provided free of costs to corporations or housing societies. But we have to have a minimum of 25 connections for it to be viable."

Is this just a digression?

Industry sources allege that the DSL services announcement is merely a ploy by Dishnet to draw attention away from the delay in the launch of its Internet services.

Dishnet has yet again postponed the launch of its ISP business in Bombay. This is the third time that the company has missed its deadline.

Slated to open shop on September 13, Ganesh Chaturthi day, Dishnet now hopes to launch by the October 15.

This date is another one in a series of missed deadlines and schedules gone haywire. Originally, the company was to start operations on May 1. This was postponed to July and then September 13, was fixed as the launch date.

Now Dishnet is keeping its fingers crossed, hoping to meet the mid-October deadline.

Arya vehemently dismisses any criticism that Dishnet is using the announcement of the new service to divert attention from its ISP business.

"Technically speaking we have already launched our service. But it is a soft launch with access being provided to a limited group of people. We are currently doing debugging and have already added a link between Pune and Bombay," he defends.

Though Arya strongly defends Dishnet's delay he concedes that things have gone a bit awry.

"I know we are late in launching our services in Bombay. But we will make up for it. We will have an ubiquitous presence and will offer value added services and CDs. Sometimes things go wrong and do not work out as planned," he says.

But it's not just a few things that have gone wrong.

Dishnet has been forced to change its entire distribution model. The company had earlier planned to appoint franchisees throughout the state that would deal with the subscribers.

These franchisees would set up the connection and even act as the helpdesk for any problems that users might face.

But now Arya reveals that Dishnet has abandoned the idea of having franchisees and has instead opted for distribution channels.

"The franchisee method was not viable so we have decided to have dealers under distributors. The distributors would be appointed by us and they would be free to choose the dealers they wish," Arya explains.

He also promises that to make up for its late entry into the ISP segment Dishnet will market aggressive.

Despite all the cost overheads, Arya is optimistic that Dishnet will break even in the second year of its operation. He projects a subscriber base of about 100,000 for Dishnet by March 2000.

"We will launch our services in Bangalore and Hyderabad by November. We are confident that we will meet our targets. A large part of this figure would be new subscribers," Arya confides.

Related site:

Tell us what you think