According to the latest Telecom Regulatory Authority (Trai) report on Internet subscribers, the Indian Internet subscriber base, has grown only 8 to 9 per cent in the quarters ending September and December 2001.
Till mid-2001, about 4 to 5 lakh customers were being added every six months but towards December 2001, only about 2 to 3 lakh customers were added to the existing base.
Since November 1998, a total of Rs 5,500 crores has been invested by ISPs. The Internet service provider association of India (ISPAI) is expecting a drop of 50 to 60 per cent in investments by ISPs in this fiscal ending April 2002, over the last fiscal.
According to industry sources, Dial-up customers constitute about 95 per cent of total subscribers of almost all ISPs. Till date, the accumulated losses of ISPs is to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore.
According to industry sources, about two years ago, Bharti Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) earned close to 90 per cent of revenues from retail and the rest came from the corporate sector, whereas now, the retail segment contributes only 10 per cent, with the corporate sector contributing 90 per cent.
Even HCL Infinet is drifting away from retail towards corporate customers for the same reason. Its corporate customers constitute about 60 per cent of its total base, with retail customers constituting the rest.
According to industry sources, the ISP shakeout in the last 12 months, is another factor responsible for the decline in the growth of Internet subscribers. Even Network of World (NOW) India has ruled out acquiring an ISP to increase its dial-up customers.
Source: Financial Express