Tuesday, May 20, 2008

India's Broadband in Doldrums

At http:\\ one comes across various subscribers or to be subscribers complaining of one or the other private broadband providers.What they fail to understand is that how private broadband providers hoodwink the Telecom Regulator (TRAI) and the public in the area of last mile connectivity.

BSNL and MTNL provide last mile connectivity to your home/business premises be it of telephone line or ADSL2 broadband via the same. AirTel, Reliance, Tata Indicom, Sify, etc. do not provide last mile connectivity. This the private operators have passed on to local BSAs/CTOs who do not use the same technology in distribution of connections as BSNL/MTNL do.

BSNL & MTNL have multiwired cables coming from the local telphone exchange to each junction box of your locality. In the junction box there are DP switches for each telphone connection. These DP switches get connected to the telephone exchange via the multiwired cables. As a result repair of a fault in one connection does not result in all telephone connections in a junction box being switched off.

Private operators providing telephone connectivity are providing only wireless except for AirTel in some areas. Wireless can support internet connectivity at the most up to 144 kbps, the average being 56 kbps, not exactly broadband. As a result all private operators provide broadband connectivity through local BSA/CTO who get the same through a wired connection from the city office of the provider who in turn gets it via wireless/satellite form the provider's servers.

The BSA/CTO has just one cable emanating from their PC, unlike BSNL/MTNL who have multiwired cables emnating from their exchanges to different covered localities. This single cable goes piggy back via street lamps or BSNL/MTNL telephone poles and splits as per requirements of subscribers via splitters. The splitters split further depending on the direction where the subscribers are located, and so on.... So, if one subscriber has a problem, the tech guy will work at the splitter end from which the subscriber is connected. This will necessitate disconnection of BB connections down the line from there. This, in other words, means that the nearer a subscriber is to the office of the BSA/CTO the lesser the disconnections. This is the "bania" system of distribution of last mile connectivity provided by the local BSA/CTO for which he charges one time installation of Rs. 1500 and monthly charge of Rs. 100 over and above the broadband rate. This is the rate as of Sify Broadband.

Sify customer care is totally impotent to complaints from customers. For the fact, Sify has to just pacify the subscriber as the BSA/CTO can even threaten to cut of connectivity to an ever cribbing subscriber. The situation is worse with Reliance and Tata Indicom where the customer care guys only hear complaints if the the complainer first hears to their marketing talk of some of their other products not necessarily related to broadband, else the complainer will either receive no attention or abusive language.

TRAI seems to be another impotent watchdog who can only come out with white papers knowing well that it cannot force implentation as all the private operators will then cry hoarse of it not getting BSNL/MTNL to provide last mile connectivity, which has been a contentious issue for upteen years for fixed line connectivity turned down by DoT.

Now you got the picture? This is the way India's Government, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), TRAI, Service providers all in this order have to function. The subscribers who voted this "SOB" government to power are reminded constantly of their error.

Do send in your comments.

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