It is no longer about the Internet. It is about your TV and telephone.
While home broadband at 2 Megabytes per second (2 Mbps) has been the high-speed motif for a while, Bharti Airtel’s announcement last week that it will soon offer 8 Mbps per home could change things dramatically for those who love international calls and movies – if only the service providers walk their talk on quality and charge the right price. Other players are expected to follow, though they are silent as yet.
Downloading your favourite Bollywood movie for which you have to leave your PC switched on overnight at present could soon would soon be a matter of less than two minutes. Watching live broadcasts of the Olympics next year via the Internet on your computer screen could become a possibility too.
Airtel is still mum on the price, but it is likely to turn increasingly affordable for homes. (see chart). If US rates for 8 Mbps are matched, that would mean Rs. 4,000 a month, roughly. After all, this year has been declared the “Year of Broadband” by the government.
Airtel’s service is expected to be commercially launched in a couple of weeks in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi and the NCR. Rollouts in Mumbai and Hyderabad would follow. This announcement comes within a week after Airtel disclosed its plans to launch IPTV services in Delhi by next quarter.
“With 8 Mbps speed, our network will also be IPTV ready,” said Atul Bindal, President, Broadband & Telephone Services. This in effect could mean you can watch your favourite programmes when it suits you, on the Net.