VSNL Plans Network For Converging Technologies
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VSNL, India's exclusive provider of international telecommunications services, plans to launch a multi-service backbone project involving a new network built around convergence technologies.
For subscribers, this would mean better international telephone service and faster and improved Internet access.
Officials pointed out that this was a long-term project and would be in place in a few months time, since VSNL is currently in the process of reviewing tenders. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
VSNL is to install eight ATM switches in various locations with an individual capacity of 20 gigabits. The capacity and its spread across the country are expected to ease a number of bottlenecks.
This provides VSNL with the opportunity to play a central role in the future of international telecommunications and India's business integration with the rest of the world.
As one official pointed out, a convergent network would mean greater operational efficiency instead of setting up individual backbones for its telecom, Internet and other businesses. Once regulations are in place, VSNL would be in a position to offer Internet telephony as well.
VSNL already has an experimental Internet telephony exchange installed in Mumbai, but has not started offering the service yet.
In 1997-98, VSNL handled over 1.7 billion minutes of international telephone traffic and earned revenues of US$1.6 billion equivalent.
One of India's top ten companies, VSNL is majority owned by the Government of India. In 1997, the company was awarded "Navaratna" status (one of the "Nine Jewels") by the Indian government.
At present, VSNL offers Internet access in 42 cities including 36 centers serviced by the Department of Telecommunications.