The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Broadband battle beams in a new player

The broadband battle has just got hotter. After public-sector communication giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and private telecom heavyweight Reliance announced their broadband plans, Alliance Broadband Services — a city-based umbrella organisation of 700 cable operators in the city — hopped on to the broadband bandwagon on Monday.

Information technology (IT) minister Manab Mukherjee was present during the launch of the company’s Internet-over-cable and other value-added services. “We talk about improving IT culture in the state. We are happy that IT, bundled with entertainment, is now entering the common man’s life,” said Mukherjee.

To begin with, the company will offer on-line streaming audio, bandwidth on demand, virtual private network and web mail facilities, besides providing 64 kbps dedicated Internet connection. And once the conditional access system (CAS) takes off, it will roll out a slew of other value-added services as well.

“By the next three months, we expect to start various other services, like audio and video on demand, educational content, remote access, intra-network telephone connectivity and voice-over Internet protocol. We are already in talks with content providers,” said Dwijen Mondal, director, Alliance Broadband Services.

Alliance officials claim that the price package will be competitive and according to their estimates, the company, with a reach of around 2.5 lakh cable households in the city, will be able to rope in around 25,000 users in the next six months. Besides the installation charge of Rs 1,000 and registration fee of Rs 400, a consumer will have to cough up Rs 690 per month for unlimited Internet access. The rates will be Rs 299 and Rs 499 for 30 hours and 60 hours, respectively.

The services will be routed through 15 master control rooms in the city. And the Alliance network, laid with an investment of Rs 5 crore, consists of 11 wireless radio stations and 300 km of fibre optic cable network, laid between Garia and Dum Dum. To provide better bandwidth, the company has tied up with Software Technology Parks of India and private operator Primus.

“The key thing about the network is that it hardly uses the coaxial cable. It will run on switches, so the extent of congestion will be minimum,” said Arunava Kar Chowdhury, chief executive officer, Globetek Infosys, which has provided technology to Alliance.

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