The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Webel rings in broadband

The broadband battle is growing bigger by the day. With Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Reliance ready to roll out a slew of services in the city, it’s time for Webel to get into the act.

The nodal IT agency of the West Bengal government has joined hands with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) to offer a basket of broadband services. “We signed an MoU with MTNL in December 2002 and expect to start reaching our consumers in Calcutta by May this year. And then, in a phased manner, we will reach out to remote villages in the state,” said S.K. Mitra, managing director, Webel.

As per the terms of the MoU, signed between Webel and Millennium Telecom, a fully-owned subsidiary of MTNL, all capital expenditure related to the project will be borne by the public sector telephony major. So, the technology will be MTNL’s, while Webel will chip in with human resources, infrastructure and marketing support.

“We will take the aerial route to reach our customers and will use CorDECT technology, which works on wireless-in-local-loop (WiLL) principles. MTNL is successfully using this technology to offer broadband services in Himachal Pradesh,” said Mitra.

The MTNL-Webel bouquet will include Internet, Internet telephony and a number of portals for tendering. At a later stage, entertainment services will also be offered. “We are discussing the issue of generating content with some major players,” Mitra added. While Mitra admitted that pricing of the service would be the “make-or-break” factor for the project in Bengal, he declined to comment on the monthly charges that consumers must cough up for the service. nBakery threat: Bakery organisations have threatened to increase the price of bread by Re 1 for every pound following the hike in price of flour. The Joint Action Committee of West Bengal Bakery-owners and Bakers’ Coordination Committee said in a joint statement on Saturday that flour price has increased by more than Rs 100 per quintal.

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