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
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.
The company has six international gateways which are used for both telecom and other value-added services such as video conferencing and Internet access. Other services include television transmission/reception, high-speed
digital leased lines, maritime global communications, ISDN, Internet
access, e-mail, Gateway Packet Switching, Electronic Data Interchange
and Frame Relay services.
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.