In India it is not called broadband yet. It’s narrow band.


By global standards the speeds we have in India are not broadband. There is a term for it and it is narrowband. Narrowband – a cross between low-speed broadband and high-speed dial-up connection. A newly released report of Akamai – The state of Internet has given some important statistic which should give some food for thought for our policy makers.

Before we go into the details take a look at the picture to the right. India’s fastest InReliance_31MBPSternet @3.1 Mbps. That is the best available in India. I remember Airtel has launched 4 Mbps and some other provider (I think BSNL) launched 8 MBPS. But the charges for those are astronomical. No wonder our speeds is low. We don’t even have a good speed and we are already thinking of capping it?

Globally, Unique IP addresses saw a 10% increase whereas India saw a 23% increase. South Korea has the largest number of Unique IP addresses. India has just 0.6% of the total net users with greater than 5MB/s. Measuring the IP’s per capita is not even possible because of the low number of IP address and high population. China’s IP addresses per capita is at 0.3%.

India statistics :

Unique IP Addresses – 2,586,258
Q2 08 Change – 23%
Unique IP’s Per Capita – 0
%Above 5 MBPS – 0.6%
%Above 2 MBPS – 5%
%Below 256 KBPS – 26%

The report takes a note of the new submarine cables being built across oceans to increase the speeds by decreasing latency. Bharti is helping in one of the cable system called Souteast Asia Japan Cable . This is expected to be completed in 2011. We just need more of these submarine cables to increase our speeds.

According to an interview 67 with O3b’s founder Greg Wyler, the satellites will orbit the Earth around the equator, and he notes that “Because they’re approximately five times closer to the earth than geo-satellites, the latency is reduced by approximately five times.” Wyler claims that the service will provide multi-Gbps speeds, and will cost in the range of $500/Mbps or below.

O3b’s Satellites provides WiMax services which BSNL is tapping to provide high speed Internet access to 25000 villages. WiMax is better suited as the access is through satellites and well suited for India’s stifled infrastructure. This could be the solution India is looking for. There are predictions already that India will be the largest WiMax consumer in Asia Pacific.

Broadband, Narrowband, WiMax, 3G and mobile Internet are the existing options for connecting. All of these are in nascent stages and there is no clear winner yet. With the low-cost netbook’s and ubiquitous mobile’s – WiMax and 3G might just prove to be the winning horses.

Where would you put your money on?

  1. Anindya says

    Hi Sriram,
    I think the near future in India may well lie with the BSNL provided WiMAX services.
    Internet penetration will need fast and cheap broadband access and cheaper hardware (no-frills internet access device/ PC). Local language content delivery is also critical and this content needs to be targeted more to the rural market.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

who's online