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VSNL hurls bandwidth overselling slur on Flag

Mumbai, Dec. 7 (PTI): The bandwidth pricing war in India is hotting up with Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) alleging that Flag Telecom Holdings Ltd has “oversold” capacity on the submarine cable network. VSNL said it has been waiting for Flag to assign additional capacity for the country.

Flag has sold capacity much beyond the agreed terms of 15 stm1s, which is more than that available on the Flag Europe Asia cable system, senior VSNL officials said.

Flag Europe Asia cable system, which links Europe to West Asia and the Indian sub-continent to the Far East, has a designed capacity of 10 gigabytes per second and has 64 stm1s (an stm1 transfers 155 megabyte of data per second) on the entire stretch, they said.

According to the initial construction and maintenance agreement signed between the two companies, the former had allotted six stm1s for India, which was to be distributed through VSNL.

In January, under a fresh agreement, Flag assigned a total of 15 stm1s for the Indian market of which nine were to be sold by Flag, they said.

However, it was found that around 25 stm1s were sold by Flag in the Indian market, contrary to the agreement, under which the company had rights to sell only nine stm1s, they said, adding that six stm1s were already being used by VSNL.

VSNL alleged that this was a breach of contract, as Flag has oversold capacity. Moreover, to activate capacity in excess of 15 stm1s, a fresh agreement needs to be signed for which the Indian landing signatory had sent a communication to Flag, they said, adding the company was yet to revert to the proposal.

Refuting the allegations that VSNL was blocking access on the cable, an official said, “VSNL is obliged to honour the guidelines laid at the time of the formation, which states that each landing signatory can activate capacity only up to assigned limits.”

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