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Last updated: June 2, 2014 at 17:47 pm

Broadband in India: Is it going to ever improve?

One of the major problems that I face during my travel to India is the speed and reliability of broadband connections. In US, majority of users have 4 to 6 mbps lines at their home and reliability problems are next to none. Downloading a gigabyte files or watching a movie online is never a problem.

However, it is not the case back in India. During my visit last year for nearly a month, a day did not pass by when I did not have some or the other Internet connection problems. I had taken a 512 kbps line, but never gave me a download speed more than 20kbps. To add to frustration was frequent downtimes and most pathetic customer service ever!

Just to give you an idea of what I am saying, watch this video (this is a must watch, most of you may relate it with your own experience)

Are you one such frustrated internet user? Just today, I read the news that Airtel is launching an 8 mbps broadband line in India. I was quite surprised given the lack of overall internet Bandwidth in India. After reading the whole news, I am sure it is just another gimmick to get publicity and more subscribers.

Internet Bandwidth generally comes in 2 flavors, dedicated and shared. In most cases the bandwidth is shared and the speed to end user depends on how many users have logged in at any given moment of time. More the user less the speed. If that is the case with this line then it hardly makes any sense to call it an 8mbps line. The important part is how much speed does Airtel guarantee to the end user.

And if it is a dedicated 8 mbps line, what are the costs. As per the news,

For 8 Mbps, Airtel is likely to charge Rs 75 – Rs 150 per hour. The charges for a limited 8 mbps download account could be around Rs 1,999, according to Airtel officials.

What I can say from this is if you want a dedicated line pay Rs.100 or more per hour or get a shared line for Rs. 2000 pm where you may not get guarantee of internet bandwidth.

India is witnessing tremendous growth in number of Internet and Telecom subscribers, but are the quality and service levels improving?


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  • […] if Airtel is planning to launch Internet TV for its 1.8 million broadband users, there are enough reasons to cheer as your favorite game / reality show can now be watched on the […]

  • I was now travelling for 2 months in india. The internet connection in general were very slow. As far I can say, the best connection which I had was at the Airport in Mumbai, one week ago. I’m wondering that anything works. The wiring at some places seems not to be the best… May be, something like the stratospheric broadband could solve these problems: http://www.capanina.org/ STRATOSPHERIC BROADBAND

  • Experimental Mania, You are in an envious position :)…not many people have the positive experience that you have. But if MTNL has really been good in reliability and connectivity, I am impressed. Very few ISPs have their users talking about the service positively even after prolonged use.

  • Sumedh, do you have Airtel in Pune..As I mentioned, I plan to move back to India soon and this is one of my main worries… Can you tell me which is the best option for broadband..

  • I watched the episode. That is absolutely terrible. But I am not quite sure if it's with all the broadband providers. I have been using an MTNL TriBand connection for the past 2 years now, and except for the initial "3 Month" registration process, the speed and service has usually been exceptionally good. They actually upgraded my line from 256 kbps to 2 mbps, this year, since i've been a "loyal & valuable" customer, as their letter stated. I experience downtimes on maybe sunday afternoons, but by restarting the router, everything returns to normal. Cheers.

  • Yes…the situation is really pathetic… I am a TATA indicom consumer…and very frustrated with their careless consumer service and buggy network…I hardly remember a period of 4-5 days without a single brekage in line…now I just left it alone…don't have any other choice…as I heard others are also equally pathetic… :) The term BROADband…is actually a misnomer…it only means that we don't need to keep our landline phone busy…and there is nothing BROAD about the bandwidth we get… :)

  • Oh Yeah….i have met with same experience….internet is very dead slow over there…if internet services that they can improve–thats the number one priority than anything else…

  • I think you have perfectly written about the state of broadband in India. But you can' just blame the ISP for the problem. TRAI says that anything above 256Kbps, with an always on connection is broadband. But then they didn't say anything about the data transfer cap…I think the TRAI should have put that clause as well… I think India has a strong undersea cable network to give unlimited broadband access atleast  a lot of cities in India

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