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|September 7, 1998||
Bharti and BT tie up to provide Net accessBharti Enterprises has entered a 51:49 joint-venture partnership with British Telecom to offer Internet services in India.
An investment of around $10 million is expected to be pumped into the venture initially. An application to this effect is lying with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.
The company expects to complete network implementation by November or December this year and start operation by January 1999. It expects to break even by three years. Bharti-BT Internet services will have points-of-presence in Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore initially and will be offering its services to customers in these cities.
This is due to the fact that 72 per cent of Internet subscribers in India are from these three cities. The company will also be looking into expanding operations, at a later stage in four more cities of Madras, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Calcutta.
These seven cities are expected to account for over 94 per cent of subscribers for the next seven years.
Bharti Enterprises is also understood to have hired the services of Cambridge Technology Partners, a Massachusetts-based technology consultancy company to evaluate the project and undertake network design and architecture review.
Various options being considered include backbone connectivity through very small aperture terminal links and leased lines from the Department of Telecommunications.
Incidentally, Cambridge Technologies has also worked with Citibank on the CyberMall implementation and provided the ICICI Bank Internet banking solution.
The company has plans to cater to all segments of the market requiring Internet services from home users to corporate power users.
The exact products and services portfolio is yet to be finalised, but is expected to include email, Web hosting, virtual private networks, intranets etc.
The tariffs have also not been worked out, but indications are that it will closely resemble VSNL's existing tariffs, at least initially.
VSNL's existing customer base is around 120,000 while its actual user base is about 466,000. Thus there is a large population of users who need Internet connections.
This would be the most likely target market for new ISPs. These service providers, including Bharti-BT Internet, are expected to offer differentiation in terms of customer services, support and sales channel delivery on the one hand while also providing a network service which will be fast, reliable and cheap.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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