BSNL to increase minimum broadband speed to withstand Jio Fiber

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Existing BSNL plans

State-owned telecom provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd will increase the speed cap on all its DSL and Fiber broadband plans to 10 Mbps. At present, most plans have a speed cap of 4 Mbps.

However, higher speeds will be available only in areas which are relatively close to the telephone exchange.

For example, the ADSL 2+ technology used by BSNL has a speed potential of up to 20 Mbps at a distance of 1.5 km.

However, besides the distance from the exchange, the speed will also depend on the quality of the copper wire.

Given the quality of the wire used by most ISPs in India, industry sources expect that the actual speeds achievable will be around 10 Mbps up to a distance of 2 km from the exchange.

After that, the speed drops off. For example, at a distance of 4 km from the exchange, the maximum speed falls to about 3.5 Mbps.

Despite this, the move by the company to relax speed limits indicates that it is gearing up to withstand competition from Reliance Jio.

It will also benefit users of BSNL Fiber to the Home service, who will not suffer any decline in speeds irrespective of the distance.

JIO FIBER THREAT

Reliance Jio, the Mukesh Ambani-led telecom services provider, is also likely to announce the launch of its JioFiber broadband service soon.

The service was originally announced more than a year ago, in September last year, by Mukesh Ambani, who promised that it would be rolled out in 100 top Indian cities over time.

However, since the initial announcement, not much has been heard about the product, except for uncorroborated leaks suggesting that the service will offer a speed of 100 Mbps.

In July, the company’s website listed a ‘preview’ offer, which was promptly taken down.

According to the JioFiber preview, users would get free usage of 100 GB per month for a period of three months. The speed would be 100 Mbps.

Though the preview was free, Jio would charge Rs 4,800 as installation fees.

No other details, such as the charges after the initial three months, were mentioned.

The company is also rumored to offer a high-end, IPTV service as well, that would ride on top of the Fiber service.

The service, which has been leaked on Youtube, will be different from traditional cable TV as users will be able to rewind live TV program using their remote controller.

Moreover, the service will not cost much more than normal cable TV.

BSNL gets most of its profits from its landline and broadband customers, and is keen to avoid the same kind of disruption in this segment as it has seen in wireless voice and data services.

The company’s wireless voice revenue has been hit hard by Reliance Jio’s ‘unlimited voice’ offers, while it has had to cut prices repeatedly and drastically in an attempt to keep some of its 3G users on the network.

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