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|October 9, 1997||
The year is 1998. And MTNL is the friendly neighbourhood ISP.The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited is rolling ahead with a plan to become one of the country's largest Internet service provider.
This is in keeping with the vision of MTNL Chairman and Managing Director S Rajagopalan and is expected to make the public sector giant a total service company.
"We want to separate the voice and data routes," says a senior MTNL official.
MTNL is hoping to start its services in early 1998, by which time all its infrastructure will be in place.
The additional backbone in the two metros will be even more necessary because huge amounts of data flowing to, and from, the Internet may choke the normal voice network since they both use the same infrastructure.
Towards building this backbone, MTNL has already ordered some 76 routers - black boxes used to control and direct data packets flowing on the Internet - worth over Rs 22 million. The routers will be installed at key exchanges.
In the first year of operation, MTNL is expecting to enrol at least 20,000 Internet subscribers, if not more.
"We are proceeding on a conservative assumption," said the official.
If the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, the country's sole ISP so far, moves out of the Internet services, then MTNL is likely to take over all of VSNL's Bombay and Delhi subscribers.
But even if VSNL continues to offer Internet services with a separate subsidiary, MTNL is likely to offer superior services. One reason for this being the better access that it is planning to offer its subscribers.
MTNL's plan envisages at least 2,000 access telephone lines for the projected 20,000 Internet subscribers. "We will keep increasing that number as and when needed," the official added.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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