Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wimax May Not Be The Future Broadband For India

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of India declared 2007 as the year of broadband internet and promised broadband access to majority of Indians. BSNL played a major role as a government company to fulfill this promise. It started 2Mbps plans at a value price and this led private players to become more competitive. But all this is history!!

India has cleared the spectrum for Wimax (read more on Wimax) and it seems India is banking on Wimax to reach its 20million target by 2010. But the problem is not in the technology for Wimax. Its an excellent long range and efficient wireless internet technology. It has coverage of 30miles from the tower and offers speed as much as ADSL modems provide.

The problem:
Broadband in India is very different from countries like US, U.K, Japan. In these countries, broadband access means unlimited downloads and faster access needed for video streaming and conferencing. But in India, unlimited data usage is something that's unavailable at higher speeds. No ISP provides unlimited access at speeds of 512Kbps at an acceptable price. There are night unlimited plans (8-10hrs), but then what about the day time?? Hathway's (a DOCSIS cable ISP) in Mumbai provides night unlimited at 512Kbps, but with a lot of users using this plan, speeds have dropped to less than 128Kbps during the night hours. Its been close to 2 months now that the speeds have dropped, so it seems unless someone sues Hathway for slow speeds, they are not going to buy some more bandwidth for its users.

Without unlimited data connection does broadband make sense?? Yes, it does for people who access in the internet for a short duration and want quick work done. But for the majority, the speed improvement means more work can be done. So any broadband connection should mean unlimited data usage atleast at 512Kbps speeds. If you don't think its required, try viewing 10 youtube videos per day, and you'll realize how much data access you need.

Even if Wimax is deployed by major ISPs, the biggest hinderance is going to be price and data usage. There are very less chances that Wimax will be cheaper in cities where already the ISPs have invested in wired networks. The major application for Wimax should be in places where wired network hasn't been laid down or where its costlier to maintain wired networks. But, for its success UNLIMITED DATA access is of utmost importance!!


Namrata said...

I m totally agree to you. In India we really require network that provide unlimited data. This is really needed.

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, having a wire free computer in the house connected to a broadband connection.
Broadband" href="">Wireless Broadband
, this is a special kind of broadband package

where you can use it at home, but also in certain places when you are away from home. All you need is your phone

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Bonny said...

Broadband would be the connectivity in the rural heartlands of India at lowest capital cost of laying connection. But more than just connection in Rural and semi-urban areas the penetration is computer should be the first priority. Digital divide mars India IT progress. But when IT application are made for rural and semi-urban consumption, then the digital divide in is bound to reduce. So focus should be towards rural and semi-urban IT products. This would be true not only for India but also for are rural based economies around the world.