Veer Arjun Singh discusses internet penetration in India and the need for 11 Gbps and higher speeds with the CEO of Spectra.
Photograph: Courtesy geralt/pixabay.com/
In terms of internet speeds, India is far behind most developed countries, but the adoption of fiber optics has introduced comparable high-speed internet for home and business users.
Udit Mehrotra, chief executive officer and managing director, Spectra, the company that has recently launched the fastest broadband internet in the country, of 1 Gbps, talks about the feasibility of high-speed internet for the masses.
Why would a home user require a bandwidth 1 Gbps?
1 Gbps, equivalent to 1,000 Mbps, is currently the fastest broadband speed available in India and most parts of the world.
The question really is: Why not 1 Gbps?
Having 1 Gbps broadband at home is akin to having unlimited broadband, both in terms of speed and usage, irrespective of the number of devices connected at any given time.
Why are the bigger players still not offering 1 Gbps? How will Reliance Jio's foray into fibre optics affect the industry?
The traditional players had set up copper infrastructure years ago, mainly for wired telephony.
In comparison to copper, fiber is much faster in transmission, has low attenuation or loss of signal over a distance and the overall network is much stronger.
Fiber is designed to carry data whereas copper was used for voice transmission.
Not just 1 Gbps, we will be able to offer speeds up to 10 Gbps, which has become the norm in a few parts of the world, in a few years from now.
Jio will bring about a very positive change.
With their entry, both the broadband penetration as well as the FTTH (Fiber To The Home) market will grow, and we look forward to that.
How has the adoption of 1 Gbps been since the launch? How is Spectra's offering different from that of ACT, the only other player to offer 1 Gbps in India?
We have operations in eight cities across the country.
We have upgraded all customers on our network in Delhi NCR to 1 Gbps packages and are planning to extend the service to other cities, too.
The fundamental differentiator is our unlimited proposition. We have designed our network to handle unlimited usage and we don't hold back in extending that to the user.
Another significant difference is affordability. At ₹1,249 per month, a user gets 1 Gbps speed (symmetric upload and download speeds) and unlimited usage anywhere in Delhi NCR.
Even though it's growing fast, broadband penetration vis-a-vis the population is still low in India.
Why did Spectra decide to develop 1 Gbps over expanding the user base at slower speeds?
We continue to expand as well as develop.
Ours is a fiber-only network, and 1 Gbps comes naturally to that.
Offering 1 Gbps or even speeds beyond that has no bearing on our expansion efforts. Such speeds can redefine how we use the internet.
Are 1 Gbps packages starting below ₹1,000 feasible or is it a limited period offer and a marketing strategy to expand user base? Are the prices expected to rise later?
It is definitely feasible.
We don't believe in pricing strategies that bind customers to eventually pay more in the longer run.
Where does India stand with respect to internet speeds in the rest of the world?
Many countries have gone beyond 1 Gbps.
As per the latest Ookla's Speedtest Global Index, India has a long way to go when it comes to the fastest available speeds in the world.
However, it is safe to say that India has grown exponentially in this regard, and we are optimistic about the capacity for growth here.
As an ISP, do you favour Net Neutrality and agree with India's stand as communicated by TRAI?
We subscribe to TRAI's stance on Net Neutrality of internet being an 'on open platform.'
As an ISP, not having net neutrality could seem like a profitable proposition, but if we wish to move forward as a nation, we must not let certain entities control the access to the internet, which is a democratic medium.
India has a large base of small businesses that will be severely affected if net neutrality is not imposed.
Internet is a key catalyst to change the way we live and do business.