Transforming Gradually

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

With upcoming services like 3G and WiMax, wireless technology seems to be

attracting a major part of the wireline market share. Mobile technology has

become more capable of supporting higher bandwidths optimally, and of late 3G

and 4G have become popular. However, whether it is 4G or 5G, the thrust remains

on being able to provide more bandwidth on wireless. 3G, 4G or any other

wireless technologies are still nowhere comparable to wireline in terms of

bandwidth or capability on broadband and IPTV.


For example, in wireline we are already talking about speeds of 100 Mbps for

consumers. In video communications, the average per consumer requirement for

IPTV ranges from 3-4 Mbps for normal standard definition TV, to about 8 Mbps on

HDTV. Enabling such dedicated per consumer bandwidths on any wireless technology

in today's date is an uphill task.

Market analysis reflects the moderate increase of wireline services because

of its ability to offer an unmatched bundled portfolio of broadband, IPTV, and

video communications.


Convergence of services needs more bandwidth; and video communications would

be a major growth factor. Video communication as a two-way long distance

communication is an interesting aspect because till sometime back, people used

to believe IPTV would need broadband as a prerequisite. Technically, that still

holds true; however now, we believe that IPTV will emerge as a driver of

broadband, instead of being just a subset of broadband. There may actually be

users willing to take IPTV without using data because they don't have a PC. So,

IPTV will turn out to be a driver for broadband in India.


Expert Panel

Vish Iyer, VP, SP, India & SAARC, Cisco

Virin Dhir, president, corporate initiatives, Aksh Optifibre

Vijay Yadav, MD, UTStarcom

Apart from IPTV, deployment of fiber based networks like FTTH to deliver 1GB

or 10GB as per the requirement would also find wider acceptance in the coming


MTNL has been using fiber as the backbone for all layouts for the past three

years. From the perspective of an ISP, it is always a good investment to put

money in fiber optics. Using fiber optics, an Internet infrastructure would

require a lower maintenance than a copper wire infrastructure, since fibers are

much stronger. One of the developments of the country is the commercial launch

of FTTH.


Innovations like FTTH, FTTX are important for certain markets. However, these

technologies are not so relevant from the Indian market perspective, since

operators here need approvals from various municipal bodies for wireline

infrastructure deployments, which is a huge challenge. Most private operators in

India have put a hold on their FTTH wireline deployments.

BRAS as a technology had been around for some time, mainly because broadband

network has been around for long even though a majority of the broadband

networks deployed earlier were based on the copper infrastructure.

Wireline vs Wireless

Wireline infrastructure is facing stiff competition from wireless infrastructure
as far as fixed line voice is concerned. Consumers are increasingly migrating to

mobile phones and not finding enough value in fixed line.


The growth of wireless services has been substantial, with wireless

subscribers growing at a compound annual growth rate of 60% per annum, since


However as far as fixed line data (Internet) is concerned, consumers are

still retaining their DSL or cable connection. The high speed and quality that

they can avail through wireline connection is not possible through wireless.

Wireless technologies still have a long way to go in terms of bandwidth or

capability on broadband and IPTV. Further, mobile IPTV is another emerging area

where home wired IPTV would be far bigger than mobile IPTV.


Emerging Demands

Enterprises nowadays are looking for connectivity combined with flexibility.

Depending upon their business expansion plans, enterprises demand is to be able

to size their communication or connectivity accordingly. For example, an

enterprise wants to start a new office in a new location in a month, the service

provider should be able to facilitate the relocation of the infrastructure with

little hassle and increase or decrease the communications requirement as per the

demand of the business at a later stage.

Besides flexibility in connectivity, enterprises are also demanding

flexibility in configuration, which means while services continue to be

provided, enterprises now want themselves to control user rights of

communications, centrally.

Moreover, enterprises are looking at future-proof infrastructure and as a

result, we are seeing a surge in demand for fiber networks, amongst enterprises.

A quantum growth utilization of the existing copper lines to deploy more

broadband by way of ADSL 2+ technology is taking place. Apart from that we could

see faster adoption of new fiber based technologies delivering 1 GB to 10 GB

where GEPON is the available option.


For any broadband network that is deployed we are able to deliver voice,

video, and data on the IP network. So essentially all three services on a

broadband IP network is something that UTStarcom enables and that makes for

their USP.

The biggest concern for the wireline infrastructure is speed. The bandwidth

needs of enterprises are multiplying; they are increasingly using video-centric

applications which require greater speed. However, their budgets are not

multiplying, and hence to invest in a new architecture to address their

requirements is becoming a challenge for them.


Amongst the major challenges is the fact that the number of wirelines that

are actually capable of delivering a bandwidth of more than 2 Mbps are very few.


New lines need to be laid to drive growth of wireline broadband and IPTV in

the country. Of the available 40 mn wirelines, very few are capable of

delivering 2-4 Mbps bandwidths, which is the basic requirement for IPTV. It's

not always easy to find the right of way and lay a wireline, which is one of the

biggest challenges. Technologies like GEPON with capability of 10GB and 64-128

splits will play a major role.

CIO Concerns

  • High definition content
  • Better video services
  • Capex to migrate to new technologies
  • Simplicity and QoS on final services
  • Complexity in managing networks
  • Government regulations
  • Pricing for broadband services

Cable operators are also challenged to deliver cable-centric/cable-friendly

FTTH technology that does not require the significant changes to back office and

network infrastructure necessary with earlier FTTH cable architectures.

The Roadmap

While the Indian telecom industry has almost 300 mn plus fixed line

subscribers, the most untapped market still remains the 60% rural and semi-urban

population. The emergence of broadband with new technologies like IPTV, VoIP,

etc, will boost the growth of wireline infrastructure.

While the wireless segment is surrounded by impending spectrum and 3G issues,

for service providers it makes important to provide ubiquitous technology at

affordable prices , and at the same time make marginal revenues. India is a

largely unpredictable market. With spectrum issues playing havoc in the wireless

segment, operators are still unclear on the broadband roadmap. With cheaper

options like WiMax Rev E available in the market, wireline, with its higher QoS

option, is an opportunity yet to be tapped.

In order to support fast connections and high bandwidth, it is imperative to

have wireline infrastructure. The government's focus on e-education and

e-medicine services in rural areas, broadband is one technology which would play

a crucial role in enabling this growth.

Additionally, with Internet banking, e-commerce, matrimonial portals, and

e-ticketing (railways and airline) growing in tier-2 and tier-3 towns, end users

are looking at adopting broadband in a big way. Similarly, in rural areas, the

emphasis is on providing several applications to improve the living standards of

this segment. There is a focus on providing e-gov, e-education, and e-medicine

applications to remote rural areas, and broadband is the key technology that can

make this happen.

Archana Singh