The Internet subscribers’ base has crossed the Broadband Policy 2004 target of 6.0 million connections three months before the target date by reaching the 6.1-million mark during the quarter ending September, 2005 in comparison to 5.9 million at the end of quarter ending June, 2005, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said on Tuesday.
Out of the 6.1 million connections, the share of PSU operators is 3.5 million, while that of private operators is 2.6 million. The growth of this segment during the year was of the order of about 15 per cent.
The number of Broadband subscribers (with a download speed of 256 kbps or more) increased from 3.96 lakh to 6.10 lakh during the quarter ending September, 2005 registering a growth of about 54 per cent during the quarter. “But this growth is not enough to meet the policy target of three million by 2005,” TRAI said. Out of the 6.10 lakh subscribers, the share of PSU operators was 2.6 lakh, while that of private operators was 3.5 lakh.
Average minutes of use per month per Internet subscriber was in the order of 315 minutes and the ARPU/month for Internet service was of the order of Rs 190. The minimum monthly tariff for broadband services also saw a decrease to Rs. 250 per month from Rs 500 in the previous quarter, thus registering a drop of the order of 50 per cent.
“As the minimum monthly tariff for broadband has come down to the level of dial-up Internet charges for a month for similar usage, the demand for broadband services has increased, but ‘supply’ for the same is a cause of concern,” TRAI observed.
“The achievement of Internet target before the due date and likely failure for the same for broadband services indicate the lack of availability of broadband services throughout the country like the dial-up Internet service due to lack of competition in the copper based last mile, which is mostly with the incumbent,” it added.
From this quarter, TRAI has included doling out the performance indicators for Cable TV, DTH and Radio Broadcasting Services have also been included. According to this study, Hindi general entertainment has the highest viewership in three Metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. In Chennai, regional entertainment channels are dominant in with a viewership of 62 per cent and Kolkata having 24 per cent.