Tag Archives: telecommunications

Broadband in India – Praying for better times

(This article, by Pune-based Srinivasa Addepalli is taken from his blog and republished here with permission.)

India has about 7 million broadband subscribers, broadband, which by the way is defined in India at >=256Kbps: just about enough speed to let you experience the new, emerging Internet. The Indian Govt. had declared 2007 as the year of broadband, and a target of 9mn subs was set for the year. Even two years later, we are way behind! Just so you know, China has over 80 million broadband subscribers.

This article is a guest-post by Pune-based Srini Addepalli, head of strategy at Tata Co
This article is a guest-post by Pune-based Srini Addepalli, head of strategy at Tata Co

Why is a nation such as ours, IT superpower and aspiring global superpower, so poor when it comes to broadband penetration?

Very Poor Fixed Line Infrastructure

Most countries that have a high broadband penetration have (a) high wireline penetration, and / or (b) robust cable infrastructure. Simply speaking, if you do not have the basic infrastructure, you cannot provide a superior service such as broadband. Unfortunately for us, neither of these two conditions exist in India.

There are about 37 million fixed lines, of which only about 30% – about 10mn – are even capable of providing broadband. In recent years, there has been almost no investment in increasing and/or improving the quality of fixed line infrastructure. The country has added more than 400million wireless connections in the last 8 years, as against none in the fixed line space. While lack of focus on wireleine by the incumbents, BSNL and MTNL is an important factor, the blame must really be borne by the regulatory and policy regime which has not created an environment to encourage competition (and thereby, investment) in fixed line infrastructure / services in the country. The TRAI had recommended unbundling of the local loop as a step towards limited competition, but as has now almost become a norm, the TRAI recommendations were not accepted by the DoT.

Less said the better about cable infrastructure. It is a highly fragile and completely unregulated cobweb of many thousands of independent networks. It will take an investment of at least Rs 200 billion to upgrade the cable last mile to make it 2-way and broadband capable. Nobody, it appears, is willing to take that challenge up.

No Encouragement to Competition

It is well-recognized that the mobile revolution in India has been driven primarily by competition: at least 6-7 operators across the country. Private operators were licensed years before the incumbents were allowed to enter the mobile market; several steps have been taken towards creating a level playing field for all the licensed mobile operators. On the other hand, in broadband, there is absolutely no policy measure to encourage private operators to enter and compete; this in spite of the fact that none of them have any last mile infrastructure to speak of, and therefore, require considerable support in the initial years.

The incumbents that are riding on public-funded fixed line infrastructure have – in almost a predatory manner – dropped tariffs so much that India has, at the same time, the lowest broadband ARPU and the poorest broadband penetration in the world! Wireless broadband (read 3G & WiMax) is generally expected to become the competitive alternative – but there has simply been no urgency in creating the policy environment to encourage wireless. Spectrum â the essential ingredient to rolling out wireless networks â has not been made available for Broadband; the proposed spectrum auctions have been postponed several times in the last 2 years.

Can something be done to salvage the situation?

Unfortunately, in the short term, I see no option for the customers and private operators. During 2010, the incumbents will strengthen their dominance in the broadband market (for whatever it is worth); private operators will half-heartedly roll out parallel copper / cable networks and will be plagued with quality issues. If spectrum auctions happen in Jan-Feb 2010 as currently envisaged, 3G and WiMax services should become available in most metros towards the second half of the year.

The Broadband market will have to wait till 2011 for true competition, high quality and innovative services – available in all major towns and cities. But the rest of the world will not stay still. Singapore is experimenting with getting 100Mbps to every home by 2012; we hope to get to about 1Mbps in the top 100 towns by then.

Every year, since 2005, I have been hoping that the next year would be the year that broadband becomes widely available in India. I have been proven wrong before; I pray that things change this time around.

About the Author – Srinivasa Addepalli

Srini Addepalli has been dreaming of a Broadband revolution in India for years, in his professional capacity as the head of strategy at Tata Communications and due to his personal enthusiasm for all things technology. You can find him on Twitter here.

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Seminar on technology and operations management in Telecommunications – 19 Dec

What: (Paid) Seminar giving an overview of technology and operations in a telecommunications business, by Prof. Suresh Borkar, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago.
When: Saturday 19th December, 9am-12pm (technology) and 2pm-5pm (operations)
Where: Deccan Rendezvous, Apte Road
Registration and Fees: Rs. 500 per track, payable at location. Lunch 12-2pm included. To sign up, contact Nusrat at nusrat@kpoint.in, +91 20 4131 1142, +91 20 4131 1100, +91 982 237 8516


Technology Track: 9am-12noon

  • Covers Telecom Services, Architecture, and Evolution
  • Structured around the latest standards and advances
  • Provides the framework for developing competitive strategies and making informed decisions
  • Case studies and option analyses

Lunch: 12noon-2pm

Operations Track: 2pm-5pm

  • Covers Telecom Service Life Cycle: market development to operations and maintenance
  • Market and Process expertise for business success
  • Case studies and option analyses
  • Coverage of transformational technology and process leadership

Who should attend

Executives and senior managers; senior faculty members and department heads with a focus on market and technology and research leadership. A typical participant is responsible for:

  • Delivering in the face of changing market dynamics, evolving technologies, and
    challenging competitive environment
  • Making strategic decisions and setting future direction
  • Developing own team through in-depth expert-level training

About the speaker – Dr. Suresh Borkar

Suresh is an acknowledged expert in telecommunication topics backed by 30+ years of industry experience. He has performed leadership roles in product management, R&D, and customer management in wire-line switching, telecom data management, wireless and computer networks. Suresh is active at conferences and panel discussions on WiMAX and VoIP/Next Generation Networks (NGNs). His background:

  • Currently a faculty member in Electrical/Computer Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago, USA.
  • CTO and MD, Tata-Lucent Telecom Joint Venture and Lucent India, Inc.
  • Director for Customer Management for 3G Wireless systems at Alcatel-Lucent, US, and various other roles.
  • Suresh is a B Tech (IIT Delhi) and MS, PhD (IIT, Chicago) in Electrical Engineering.

(Note: This is a paid training program. Disclaimer: PuneTech does not accept any remuneration, monetary or otherwise, for publishing content. Postings of a commercial nature (e.g. paid training program) are posted solely on the basis of whether or not they fit in with the charter of PuneTech, the fees involved, and whether our readers would find those interesting. Please let us know your views on this issue. We’re posting this one because the fees are nominal, the speaker has solid credentials, it involves knowledge that wouldn’t be easily available elsewhere, and we believe it would be of  interest to a number of PuneTech readers.)

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Event: IC Design Challenges in the Telecom sector – Shrinath Keskar, ex-MD Ikanos, India – 29th June

The integrated circuit from an Intel 8742, a 8...
Image via Wikipedia

What: Talk by Shrinath Keskar, fomer MD Ikanos Communications India, on IC Design Challenges in the Telecom Sector.
When: Monday, 29th June, 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Where: Venture Center, NCL Innovation Park, Pashan Road. To reach Venture Center, go past NCL towards Pashan, pass the cricket ground adjacent to NCL and then you’ll find NCL Innovation Park / Venture Center on the right hand side. Map
Registration and fees: This event is free for all to attend. No registration required.

About the speaker – Shrinath Keskar

Shrinath Keskar, former M.D. of Ikanos Communications of India has over 17 years of experience in the field of Semiconductors. He joined Ikanos in the year 2000 and has been with the company since then. Shrinath also worked with Fortune 500 hindered companies such as Motorola and Sun Microsystems before joining Ikanos. He has a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Texas A &M and B.E. from College of Engineering, Pune.

About PuneChips

PuneChips is a special interest group on semiconductor design and applications. This event is the inaugural event for PuneChips. PuneChips was formed to foster an environment for growth of companies in the semiconductor design and applications segment in the Pune area. Our goal is to build an ecosystem similar to PuneTech for companies in this field, where they can exchange information, consult with experts, and start and grow their businesses.

For more information, see the PuneTech wiki profile of PuneChips, and/or join the PuneChips mailing list.

Please forward this mail to anybody in Pune who is interested in semiconductors, chip design, VLSI design, chip testing, and embedded applications.

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xG Technology, Inc. Selects VoIP Software Solution From Trinity Convergence for New Wireless Handset

xG Technology, Inc., provider of low-power, long-range wireless communications technology, has selected its VeriCall Edge embedded VoIP software for xG’s new xMax TX60 wireless handset.

VeriCall Edge software will provide a complete embedded VoIP software solution for the TX60 handset, including all of the signaling and media processing (codecs), and quality of service technology required to place and receive voice calls.


Trinity Convergence is a provider of embedded software platforms for VoIP and voice + video over IP (V2IP) products and services. Trinity has a development center in Pune on Senapati Bapat Road. See the PuneTech wiki profile of Trinity for more information.