Government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is looking to use WiMax and a network of franchisee to achieve an ambitious target of 9 million broadband connections by March next year, the chairman of the company said.
The new target is ambitious given the fact the company added less than 1 million connections in the past year, but Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal said it is feasible.
"We have adopted a three pronged strategy to achieve the target," Goyal told the
. The company will be increasingly relying on WiMAX technology, which is particularly useful in penetrating such areas where communication infrastructure is not well developed.
Wireless WiMAX can pump wireless data at high speeds over distances of up to 30 miles (48 km). WiMAX broadband will support data speeds of up to 70 megabits per second (mbps). In India, the standard that is defined as broadband speed is currently at 512 kbps, while the same is offered at 2 mbps or more in other countries.
In November 2007, BSNL had already announced the Expression of Interest for the rural broadband rollout on WiMAX for 25000 villages.
The company plans to hire vendors for rolling out new connections in rural areas, Goyal said. In states like Punjab and Kerala, BSNL will provide equipment to vendors. Goyal said the details of the franchise model would be announced soon.
The new initiatives come as broadband growth in the country has fallen far short of targets set in the past. The telecommunications department had earlier set a target of 9 million broadband connections for the country as whole, most of which were to be installed by BSNL. Broadband connections, however, totaled to 2.9 million as of November, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.