2 lakh hopefuls on waiting list for BSNL, MTNL broadband

Written by Vrishti Beniwal | New Delhi, Aug 30 | Updated: Aug 31 2007, 05:55am hrs
Internet buffs hoping to get a 2 Mbps broadband connection from MTNL or BSNL may have to cool their heels for a while. There are no less than 2.05 lakh customers on the waiting list for high-speed connections from the two state-owned telecom companies, primarily because of capacity constraints.

That is likely to deal a severe blow to the department of telecommunications (DoTs) target of 90 lakh broadband

Internet subscribers by the end of 2007. BSNL alone was supposed to provide 50 lakh connections. DoT had even ambitiously labelled the current fiscal the year of the broadband. At present, the countrys total broadband subscriber base is a meagre 24.7 lakh.

Former communications & IT minister Dayanidhi Marans announcement of a base package with a speed of 2 Mbps at Rs 250 a month for BSNL and Rs 199 for MTNL from January this year further complicated matters for the two firms. Officials cite the long drawn out tendering policy for PSUs when procuring equipment for the capacity constraints, leading to delays in providing broadband connections.

BSNL is the market leader with around 10 lakh customers and provides services in the largest number of cities (1,035).

As of July 31, 2007, the company had some 1.62 lakh customers on the waiting list. Similarly, MTNL has 42,390 people on its waiting list (6,766 in Delhi and 35,624 in Mumbai) for broadband connections. The number of connections provided by MTNL in Delhi and Mumbai is 2.49 lakh and 2.58 lakh, respectively.

Last year, MTNL had planned an expansion of its broadband network in Delhi and Mumbai by 5 lakh through an open tender and 3 lakh from ITI against the reserved quota. However, ITI could supply only 43,000 ports.