Wednesday, August 19, 2009

India Broadband: Under-fulfilled Potential

For years, we have been talking about the upcoming Broadband revolution in India, yet it remains an elusive dream. We, of course, find fault with Government policies on fiber roll-out and spectrum auctions yet it is not clear what is inhibiting customers from adopting Broadband. There are instances where Broadband is available (from one or more operators), however, network fill-factors are quite low, abysmally low in some cases. "Availability of last mile" cannot be the issue in such circumstances... there has to be something more.

Over the next few posts, I will try to uncover the customer perspective towards Broadband services, service providers and adoption-related issues. I will use a few snap polls to answer specific questions as well as conduct a few focused discussions with existing and potential customers to get their perspectives. Your inputs through comments would, of course, be most welcome.


Amit Paranjape said...


Good domain area for a blog. I think this is an important issue. Similar to the Mobile Phone revolution, we need a Broadband revolution in India. Some might say we already have it - I guess those people haven't tried: setting up a broadband in India, using it at a consistent 'broadband speed', having it reliably up at anytime!

Having used broadband from 4 different providers over the past 2 years, I can say that the overall experience across all levels - customer service, installation, reliability, speed, is far from satisfactory.

Looking forward to what others feel.


Sridhar said...

What's the biggest inhibitor to Broadband today? My take in order of priority is:

1. Price - the variance in pricing is a factor of competition, but the price itself is not a problem, it is either in comparison to alternatives or not an issue for most if #2 and perhaps #3 is dealt with ...

2. Connection quality - inconsistent quality and poor quality of customer service - everyone has broadband horror stories, vs. no one much talks about it because it is always there.

3. Access - Those that have access the more mature neighbourhoods have options and alternatives, but most have just one service provider.

4. Content - it is the extent of the 'useful' stuff you can do online vs. recreational use. Examples of public service transactions (passport applications, utility bills, etc) moved online.

5. PC density - the unconnected PC segment is growing steadily narrower, so much so that soon a stand-alone PC will be a anachronism. The driver of increasing PC density is new usage models rather than organic growth in traditional sectors. Rule of thumb: tipping point is at 30% PC density ....

6. Add-ons - while we are many years from this being a gating factor, the drive then will be the additional services such as web filters (spam, net filters for kids), applications etc.


Srinivasa Addepalli said...

Thanks for your comments, Amit & Sridhar, and others who posted to Yammer:

Price is obviously a major issue, everyone's pointing to it.. but I think price has become the issue because customers are not getting commensurate quality/service. Perhaps, if quality and speeds were to increase, customers would be OK paying an appropriate price for it.

The other issue is that we still do not have much competition in Broadband; that has impact on price as well as innovation / market education.