Individuals continue to prefer the cheaper dial-ups ISPs. At the same time, corporates and high usage individual enterpreneurs are increasingly turning to the faster and unlimited access cable Internet. Sample these numbers, VSNL has 4.73 lakh basic dialup subscribers (as on September 30) , 901 leased-line clients and 6,241 ISDN subscribers. On the other hand, Hathway Cable and Datacom, has so far marketed all of 1,500 cable modems and claims a user base of around 12,000 covering Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.
Mumbai is witnessing the maximum action in the area of cable over Internet with several players in the fray. Delhi and Chennai, on the other hand, are witnessing competition for cable through Internet from another broad-band access provider Dishnet DSL.
The CEO of IN2Cable, T M Sreedharan said that the company had been able to sell around a 1,000 modems and has picked up a user base of around 10,000 so far. In Mumbai, Hathway boasts a string of big corporate clients for its Internet services. These include Air-India, the Oberoi and Taj Hotels, Reliance, Videocon, Birla Global, Alliance Capita and Kalpataru Construction. In cable business,an advantageous geographical location pays, and Hathway has also roped in the state government headquarters of Mantralaya.
Hathway and its franchisee charge an initial down payment of Rs 1,000. In addition, the monthly charge is Rs 1,000. Alternatively the subscriber can fork out an annual advance of Rs 9,000 or Rs 750 per month. This service gives a speed of 64 kbps and 300 Mbs download per month.
More than the charges, the real cutting edge of cable Internet is the ability to provide additional services like video-on-demand using the additional band width. This is almost non-existent in the current crop of cable Internet services but UTV’s Sharkstream.com has made a beginning by tying up with WIN Entertainment’s Bharat Harwani in the Khar-Bandra suburbia of Mumbai.