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Hinduja Group Plans $1.3 Billion Net Venture

The Hinduja Group has drawn up a blueprint for a US$1.3 billion Net push in India.

The firm owns and operates the largest cable TV operations in India under the IN CableNet Brand, with over 3 million customers in nine cities.

"If India is to play a major role in the e-economy, then India needs to provide greater access infrastructure to the Indian people. There are more than twice as many television households as there are telephone households, with a larger rate of growth," says K.V. Seshasayee, the head of the Communication Business of the Hinduja Group in India.

Cable TV's bandwidth makes this infrastructure best suited to open up Internet access to Indian consumers and corporations.

The group is also setting up a 1,400 km optical fiber Internet and telecom backbone in Gujarat and plans to extend it to 33 cities in the country.

Also on the anvil is a financial services company with a foreign player to provide Web-based trading and settlement facility.

A new ISP company is being created to function as an independent entity within the group under the auspices of a Category 'A' National ISP License.

The group is investing US$93 million as the first phase for Internet access services.

This will include the delivery of Internet services on cable under the brand IN2CABLE.COM. It will also include traditional dial-up services and other associated infrastructure such as the setting up of international gateways.

The firm plans to start providing Internet services to subscribers on cable TV networks in Mumbai this month, and to serve eight more cities by the end of March, under the brand IN2CABLE.COM.

IN CableNet is the first Indian MSO (Multi-System Operator) to build a true broadband HFC (Hybrid-Fiber-Coax) Network with the construction of a fiber optic backbone and the re-engineering of its networks for two-way services, in order to carry Internet traffic of an international standard.

The Company also expects to provide special services to corporates in addition to retail Internet access.

Corporate services will include VPN (Virtual Private Networks), e-commerce platforms, intranets and dedicated high-speed data connectivity such as from the Bombay Stock Exchange, which is already connected to the IN CableNet network.