With the deployment of third-generation networks now in full swing by Indian cellcos, and with suggestions that 4G services may not be too far behind, one of the country’s fixed line broadband operators has looked to bolster speeds with a view to shoring up its customer base. According to The Hindu Business line, Bharti Airtel has revealed that it is upgrading the connections of all its fixed broadband connections in 14 large cities to a minimum speed of 2Mbps, those being: Delhi, National Capital Region (NCR), Lucknow, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Indore, Bhopal and Calcutta. The telco currently has round 1.45 million high speed internet subscribers in total, and around 85% of these are understood to be located in the 14 cities in question. Meanwhile, in the other 80 cities where Airtel offers its ADSL service customers are to have their connection speeds raised to a minimum of 1Mbps, and all of the upgrades are expected to be completed before the end of January 2012. Customers will, however, be required to pay for the bump up to 2Mbps minimum speeds, with a cost of between INR50 and INR100 (USD0.92 and USD1.84) for the upgrade; those customers being upgraded to 1Mbps speeds will face no upgrade charge.
Commenting on the development, K. Srinivas, president of consumer business for Airtel, noted: ‘The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested that operators should offer minimum speeds of 2Mbps by 2015. We are taking the lead in this direction by doing this right now.’