BSNL faces a very private threat
THREAT OF private operators utilising BSNL?s internet copper wired line looms large over the State-owned telecom major, if the progress of broadband connections in the UP Telecom (East) Circle, is anything to go by.india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 01:21 IST
THREAT OF private operators utilising BSNL’s internet copper wired line looms large over the State-owned telecom major, if the progress of broadband connections in the UP Telecom (East) Circle, is anything to go by.
Despite a remarkable Internet speed, low tariff, various incentives and regular and constant monitoring by the Telecom Minister himself, the BSNL has failed to push up its dream project — broadband service, in the circle. As per the targets fixed to it by the BSNL headquarters, the UP East Circle had to make 26,000 broadband customers by December 2005. However, the BSNL has been able to give only around 10,500 broadband connections till now.
Significantly, the UP East Circle otherwise has the distinction of being the number one circle as far as the number of BSNL’s mobile phone subscribers is concerned.
Currently, the BSNL is providing the broadband service in Circle’s six towns — while Lucknow has over 6,000 broad band subscribers, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Jhansi have 2350, 1500, 1800, 300 and 100 customers.
This tardy progress despite the incentives the BSNL is providing and vigorousness with which the top bosses are daily monitoring the progress to promote the service. For example, one can book a connection just on a telephone without having to give a formal application to the department. BSNL is also providing Rs 200 as commission to anyone who brings a new customer.
Besides, the BSNL is nowadays providing free broadband connections, a facility, which will continue for two months.
UP East chief GM, VK Shukla, admitted the poor progress and wondered why people were not coming forward to subscribe to the service, which, he said, was of the superior quality. Shukla gave a piece of his mind to officials at a meeting held only on Saturday. He told them to go for an aggressive marketing and even fix accountability of each SDO to bring some new customers. However, Shukla told the HT the trend was similar all over the country.
Be it officials’ laidback attitude or lack of proper marketing or whatever, a major threat to BSNL is about unbundling of copper loop. That means if BSNL and MTNL fail to meet the targets of broadband connections, they will be required to share their copper wire network with private players, who want to make use of BSNL’s existing network for providing broadband services as laying of new network will be costlier and time consuming.
BSNL apprehends the opening of access to their network to private companies will mean multiplying risk of losing their own basic telephone subscribers. The employees unions are also quite opposed to the idea.
Shukla, however, claimed that now there was no threat of the BSNL sharing its copper network with private players. “This decision has been postponed,” he stressed.