The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CalTel broadband due in July
- Equipment expected in June-end, talks on over channels and rates

Calcutta Telephones will roll out its broadband services by the end of July.

Setting the deadline, S.P. Chakravarty, chief general manager of Calcutta Telephones, said at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday: “We are waiting for the delivery of the equipment, which is expected to arrive in June. By the first week of July, we expect to complete installation and start services soon after.”

The broadband services include ‘always-on-Internet’, cable TV distribution and video or audio-on-demand. “All these services can be availed of at a monthly cost of Rs 1,000. Video and audio-on-demand services will be charged as per request,” added Chakravarty.

Subscribers will be able to access the Internet at speeds as high as 120 kbps, which will, however, drop to 64 kbps if the telephone is used simultaneously. Users will be provided with all requisite equipment, including the set-top box, at a yet-to-be-decided minimal subscription fee.

The services will be available through the telephone network and no fresh cable connection will be necessary.

The subscriber will, however, have to pay the telephone rentals and call charges separately, though the two can be used simultaneously while logging on to the Net. The telecom service provider is in the process of identifying 35 locations in the city to install its equipment.

CalTel is also negotiating rates and the bouquet of channels to be distributed with content provider iSpatial. “We are waiting for a decision to be taken on the rates and the bunching of different channels that can be offered to the viewer. The situation is fluid and I am unable to comment on the channels that will be offered,” explained Chakravarty.

There are presently 48 users of the CalTel broadband services in the Bengal Ambuja complex, off the E.M. Bypass. Chakravarty did not specify a target for the broadband services but said the response to the commercial launch will decide further rollout plans.

On the Direct Internet Access System (DIAS), Chakravarty said: “The service is available for a monthly rental of Rs 850 against which 0.5GB of data can be downloaded every month. This amounts to two-and-a-half hours of continuous downloading daily.” At present, there are 380 DIAS customers in the city.

CalTel is also in the process of upgrading its GSM mobile network from 2G to 3G and expects to complete the process by June 30. The wireless in local loop (WLL) services will be extended to urban areas as demand for the services has witnessed “a huge growth”, observed Chakravarty.

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