ACT to invest USD185m on expansion; BharatNet falls short of 100,000 gram panchayat target

3 Apr 2017

India’s third largest fixed broadband provider by subscribers, Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT), has launched 1Gbps services for its residential customers in Hyderabad, and plans to gradually roll out the high-speed offering to customers in the other ten cities in which it operates. The Economic Times cites ACT CEO Bala Malladi as saying that the operator is also looking to expand to three new cities, with the company earmarking investment of INR12 billion (USD185 million) over the next 18 to 24 months for the developments; according to Mr Malladi, ACT spent INR1 billion on the upgrade of its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Hyderabad. The official added that the company was also looking to increase its focus on more competitive markets, such as Delhi – a more recent addition to ACT’s footprint, the operator having launched services in the city in July 2016.

In a related development, the government has missed its target of deploying broadband services to 100,000 gram panchayats (town/village level administrative divisions) by the end of March this year as part of Phase I of the BharatNet programme. Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha told parliament that 80,000 gram panchayats had been completed so far, and that the remaining 20,000 would be connected by the end of April. Phase II of the rollout will consist of connecting a further 150,000 gram panchayats, and is expected to be completed by the end of December 2018.