Internet Penetration in India: Wireless broadband will help, but where is the power?

One of the most whinned topic in the Internet industry in India is its ‘penetration’. I have mentioned in several posts of my blog that many localities in Bangalore don’t have wired broadband service. The service of USB data cards are just about ok, I use it only if I have to, else prefer to postpone my work.

One of the reasons for not having internet service in Tier-1 cities is because of the classic last mile problem. Govts don’t give permission to dig the roads, telcos find it expensive to lay cables to each house.

In June 2010 Govt of India raised Rs 38,300 crore from the auction of  Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum. BWA is a good solution to increase the reach of internet in India, especially in Tier-2 towns. This topic is of great interest to me because it will increase the consumption of Indian languages on the internet.

I was excited to read about Zylog’s launch of Wireless broadband services in few cities of India. According to a report on Telecom Tiger,

  • Wi5 Broadband, an initiative by Zylog, is a high-speed fixed wireless broadband connection which will offer various unlimited download internet plans starting from Rs.499 with speeds ranging from 256 kbps to 1Mbps
  • Zylog Wi5 has already established its presence in over 150 towns and cities across India
  • Zylog has invested Rs 90 crore in our Wi5 services in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab and Goa region.
  • 73 per cent of our presence is in underserved small towns while the rest is in cities. During the current fiscal (2011-12), the company plans to add another 110 small towns and 40 cities

This is good to hear, I haven’t used any such service till now. Would like to try it out though.

Power Shortage

One of the other problems India faces is shortage of power. These towns may get internet services but may not have regular power to use their PCs. Yes, India will go nuclear but not anytime soon, will take few decades.

Just last week I heard from our colleagues in Tamil Nadu that the power situation was very bad (not just the political power but ‘electricity power’). They have power cuts of 8 hours in Chennai and in other parts of the state as high as 12-14 hours. They get power every 2 hours which is not enough to charge your UPS.

When I hear these incidents I tell myself – when it comes to basic infrastructure, most of us (including me) who are in Tier-1 cities don’t know the realities just outside their own city.

Also see “Wi-Fi to Overtake Wired Network Traffic by 2015: Cisco

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