Sep 6, 1999|
Cable-based Internet set to get a major boost
According to newspaper reports, Hathway Cable and Datacom has announced plans to invest Rs 5 bn in the next three years in cable based media businesses. These include cable-based Internet services, expansion of cable network and launch of new regional language cable channels.
Hathway Cable and Datacom is promoted by the Rajan Raheja Group, which runs a cable network in Bombay and the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. It also has major presence in the construction business in metros like Bombay. Its major competitors in the cable business are Zee’‘s Siticable, Hinduja’‘s InCable and a host of unorganised cable networks.
The company plans to exploit its vast cable network to make it Internet enabled. Hathway’‘s director, K. Jayaraman has stated that commercial operations would be started in select cities like Bombay, Pune and Chennai by the year end. Hathway is targeting the small offices and home offices. The company, which is targeting small offices and homes will initially provide affordable modems at around Rs 15,000 each and back it up with finance schemes to make its usage more widespread.
The move to promote Internet usage through cables is influenced by the fact that in India there are more televisions than computers (61 televisions per 1,000 people in India, compared to 2 computers per 1,000 people).
But, the going will not be easy for the company. For one, altering the cable network to make it Internet enabled will be a costly exercise and the company might not find the minimum volume of users to break even in the initial phase. Secondly, the company is already in a tug of war with regional power distributors like BSES to tap their underground cable networks. However, if the plan is successfully implemented, then Internet usage in India will get a major boost, as usage, which is presently restricted to office hours, will reach out to homes and the family.
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