BSNL launches wireless broadband in Gujarat

Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 19:35 by Tech Correspondent

Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Ltd (BSNL), in partership with SOMA Networks, Inc., a provider of WiMAX solutions, has announced the commercial launch of BSNL Wireless Broadband service in the state of Gujarat.BSNL offers its broadband services in Gujarat with a number of service plans. The bandwidth varying from 56 Kbps to 2 Mbps and residential and business plans form a major part of the different plans offered by the company. Residential plans include two email addresses and 5 MB of storage. Business plans include up to four email addresses, and 5 MB of storage.

The service will be available to users after paying a one-time installation fee of Rs. 750. A 256 Kbps connection with unlimited downloading capacity will cost Rs. 1000 monthly, whereas a 512 Kbps connection with unlimited downloads will cost Rs. 1800 per month.

The new broadband service is wireless, enabling users to access it even in remote areas of the state.

BSNL promises more services to be added in the future. In the next month, one might be also enjoying some interactive services like online shopping, banking, bill payment and new modes of communication using video and voice chats. Services like social networking, sharing of videos, music and photos and edutainment are to be made available too specifically for the youth.

Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) is the first enterprise to benefit from BSNL’s broadband service in Gujarat. GIDC will make his service available to industries housed in their estates, and will also use this service in their own administrative offices.

If the underlining of the mandate by the Indian government is anything to go by, then Gujarat may also see wireless connections to be provided to secondary schools, hospitals and village panchayats from BSNL by the end of 2009.

Satya Pal, chief general manager, BSNL Gujarat Telecom Circle, said: “We are extremely pleased that the people of Gujarat are the first to benefit from this ambitious wireless broadband project. BSNL’s
service is not just for the urban elites, but will connect India’s underserved population with the same high-quality broadband experience, but without the wait and without the wires.”

SOMA Networks plans to invest around USD 200 million (Rs 1000 crore approx.) for rolling out mobile WiMAX networks in the country.

“We will be investing around USD 200 million in the country for WiMAX services for which we have tied up with BSNL for few circles and will be bidding for more number of circles later on” said Yatish Pathak, chief executive officer, SOMA Networks.

“To begin with, BSNL will be rolling out these services using our technology and support in the state of Gujarat for the first time in the country, followed by the states of Goa, Andhra Pradesh and
Maharashtra.” he further added.

BSNL is tagrgeting almost three million subscribers including the states where the company is yet to provide the service. Satya Pal, chief general manager (Gujarat) for BSNL said,”In the first year as well, we are targeting a subscriber base of 50,000 in Gujarat, 60,000 in Maharashtra and 40,000 in Andhra Pradesh,”. The company also looks to set up  base stations iuncluding  in Gujrat in the next five years, each station having a capacity to carry a network range of 17 kms.

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