The leading private ISPs are now planning to increase the Internet access charges by 100 per cent. According to industry sources, major ISPs are right now in discussions to reach a consensus about doubling the current charges. This would mean that the average Internet charges, which are in the range of Rs 8-10 per hour right now, will go up to Rs 15-Rs 20 per hour.
Mr Siddartha Ray, managing director, Data Access, which offers the ISP branded NOW, said the price hike is inevitable as almost every ISP is bleeding. I believe that the Internet access services are underpriced and there is no alternative to the companies which are losing money, than to increase the prices to remain in the business.
Bharti group chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal has already indicated that Mantraonline is planning to double its charges in the near future, as the company cannot sustain losses any longer.
Though everybody in the private sector seem to agree on the need for a price hike, there remains a concern over the VSNL and MTNL not falling in line, and the competitive issue of losing business to them.
However, private ISPs are expected to push ahead with the price hike - and, in return, offer consumers the assurance that they will offer better quality services and faster access, which, in effect, could actually bring down the telecom usage costs for Internet surfers, as well as enhance their experience.