Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) has crossed a subscriber-base of 5.7 lakh in its Internet business as on March 20. This is inspite of competition from private Internet service providers (ISPs).
The growth is primarily due to the recent reduction in Internet charges and the enormous response from the youth. The response from the youth for using the Net -- especially in night hours -- has been encouraging. VSNL is planning to touch a subscriber-base of about 6.5 lakh in the next few months.
VSNL, which is roping in a strategic investor with 25 per cent stake as part of the disinvestment programme, had chalked out a Rs 300 crore investment plan to roll out Internet service network in 24 cities in few months.
VSNL would meet the investment from its Rs 4,500 crore reserve earmarked for capital expenditure programme. The government recently granted a category-A national ISP licence to VSNL as compensation for breaking its monopoly on international voice traffic two years ahead of schedule.
The country's largest ISP is also in the process of starting its gateway at Guwahati which would be used for satellite circuits and leased lines. VSNL is likely to complete the national roll out of the net services and expansion plans within the next 12 months, according to sources.