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DishnetDSL ties up with IOC to open chain of Net hubs in petrol bunks

25-December-2000
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DishnetDSL ties up with IOC to open chain of Net hubs in petrol bunks

After groceries, snack bars, STD booths and ATMs, it's now the turn of cyber cafes to be housed at petrol bunks. Close on the heels of Satyam Infoway's tie-up with Hindustan Petroleum (HP) to put up `i-Ways'-its Internet browsing centres-at HP-owned petrol bunks, DishnetDSL Limited has tied-up with Indian Oil Company (IOC) to open Internet hubs in all its petrol bunks across the country. DishnetDSL has already started operations in four IOC-owned petrol bunks- two each in Mumbai and Chennai-on a pilot-basis. If the pilot-hubs are successful, the ISP plans to open its Internet hubs in all the 4,800 outlets owned by the oil company, apart from an equal number of its franchisees, in the next three-four years, said Mr V Srinivasan, senior vice-president (finance) & Director of DishnetDSL Limited. While IOC has offered to allocate 150 to 200 sq ft at its petrol bunks for the hubs to Dishnet, alongwith space for its hoardings, the ISP will have to pay it the standard rentals as well as a share in the revenues. Mr Srinivasan, however, refused to divulge the revenue-sharing model. A typical Dishnet hub at an IOC petrol bunk will have three to six terminals and cost anywhere between Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8 lakh for the interiors, terminals and other infrastructure. This means that the company has to invest around Rs 300-400 crore in the coming three-four years for its hubs in the petrol bunks alone. According to Mr Srinivasan, the company is currently relying on internal accruals for this expansion and is yet to look at any external funding for it. The hubs at petrol bunks are expected to increase the browsing centres' share in the company's revenue. Currently, the ISP has over 100 Internet hubs across the country, which contribute to around 10 per cent of its revenues. The DishnetDSL hubs offer facilities like 2 mbps bandwidth, digital camera and online gaming in association with US-based online gaming company, Mpath.

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