RealTime IT News

India To Start Cable Net Services

Dishnet Ltd, a subsidiary of the Sterling Infotech group and an Internet service provider, has kicked off a pilot project for the delivery of its Internet service through cable TV operators.

The ISP also plans to invest about $ 5 million to enable the company to take its Internet services to several more Indian cities.

According to J Vijay, technical director, Dishnet, the project aims to replace the telephone with cable as the subscriber's access mode to the Internet.

A private cable service operator, Anil Dubey has already started to provide Internet services through his cable network in conjunction with Dishnet.

Initially Dubey is providing the service to his customers in three high rise buildings and has already got 500 subscribers. As this is a pilot project, terms and conditions between the cable operator and ISP remain fluid.

Subscribers will have to buy a modem to access the Net which will cost around $275.

Initially, most customers doubted whether the investment justified returns but as the realization that they could save on telephone calls prompted them to take the service.

"The initial response from the public has been very encouraging." says Dubey. There are 2000-odd cable operators in Chennai alone who are trying to consolidate and offer internet services through cable network.

Dishnet is conducting Internet testing over cable in Pune. This testing is being carried out along with Silicon Mountains, which has over 50 percent market share in Pune cable market. Plans are on to start commercial operations within the next 3 months in specific pockets of the city using this cable network. This would make it one of the first few cable networks to provide Internet access on a commercial basis.

SitiCable, the Zee Group company, has already done a similar pilot project in Bangalore and is expected to launch its service soon.

Meanwhile, Dishnet is going ahead with its plan to extend its services to major Indian metros like Mumbai and Delhi. The ISP, which launched its services in Chennai, Coimbatore and Pune in mid-April, is set to expand to Delhi and Mumbai by August 15 this year.

More cities and towns will be included soon. Within two-and-a-half months of launching its services, Dishnet claims to have built up a subscriber base of 10,000.

"Over 90 per cent of them comprise individuals and small office, home office (SOHO) segments" Vijay said.

According to the company, it has brought in certain innovations by designing packages that suit individual needs. There are products for as low as $12 that provide access for 25 hours to as high as $143 for 500 hours. Also there are products in the medium range for 50, 100 and 200 hours.

"Dishnet brings to its subscribers, both new initiates as well as demanding professionals, a whole range of comprehensive Internet services through the Microsoft Commercial Internet Suite (MCIS 2.0).

In order to make the Internet widely accessible, Dishnet has formulated a Trusted Partnership Programme through which it is "establishing friendly neighbourhood Internet Centres for easy access, training and support for end users." claims company sources.