In January itself India added 8.77 million new mobile subscribers, which exceeded what China was able to do. By 2012 India will have 490 million mobile subscribers. But broadband penetration is still very low. “It has not grown to the extent that had been expected due to infrastructure issues. India only has 3.24 million subscribers." says Nishar.
Reliance Communications CIO Sumit Chowdhury says that one of the hurdles to the growth of broadband services is not having the right of way which is why the company has looked at submarine cables of 100,000 km. The problem is that there are too many cases of fibre being cut.
Fibre optic Wimax could be an option but the spectrum that has been given by the government does not make it a cost effective proposition. Chowdhury says that the government needs to open up more spectrum for Wimax.
He notes that Reliance Communications runs an operation that is large and complex. The company plans to add 40,000 towers over the next two years. This is a huge undertaking when you consider that it took six years for the first 9000 towers to be set up. One of the challenges is that components like batteries and DG sets have to be imported.
The IPTV business will be rolled out on top of the broadband infrastructure that already exists, he adds.