Mukesh Ambani all set to transform home entertainment with Reliance Jio Giga Fiber

Reliance Jio also announced Giga TV set-top boxes, which will have the ability to use the Internet to offer services such as live TV channels, and a new way of interacting with more than one person at the same time using Jio TV Call

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Jul 6, 2018 9:00 AM

After disrupting the telecom industry by launching Jio two years ago, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is now set to shake up the TV industry. On July 5, RIL MD and Chairman, Mukesh Ambani during the 41st AGM made some key announcements.

Reliance Jio will launch an ultra-high speed fixed line broadband service, Jio Giga Fibre, for homes and enterprises, registrations for the same will start on August 15, 2018. The fixed-line broadband services will reach 50mn homes across 1100 cities, and beta trials for it have already begun at select locations in six cities — Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat and Vadodara in May 2017.

Jio Giga Fibre will offer ultra high-definition entertainment on large screen TVs, multi-party video conferencing from living rooms, voice-activated virtual assistants, virtual reality gaming, digital shopping and immersive experiences. The new service will offer a router, set top box and fixed line phone, among other things. 

Ambani said, “We will now extend this fiber connectivity to homes, merchants, small and medium enterprises and large enterprises simultaneously across 1,100 cities to offer the most advanced fiber-based broadband connectivity solution.” 

Ambani also said at the AGM that India lags behind in the fixed-line broadband space even while it has pole-vaulted into global leadership in the mobile broadband space. "Poor fixed line infrastructure has been a key reason for this. We want to take India to be among the top 5 in fixed-line broadband connectivity," he added. Ambani said India ranks 134th globally in the segment.

When Reliance had launched Jio, it had disrupted the telecom industry with highly competitive pricing and and now has doubled its customer base to 215mn in 22 months.

The FTTH service is expected to offer download speeds of 1 Gbps at affordable rates. 

Sharing his thoughts on the new service by RIL, Paritosh Joshi, Principal at Provocateur Advisory, said, “ Now, what we see happening is that telecom companies, Jio, for instance, have integrated mobility at the last mile with formidable bandwidth on the terrestrial pipe, which is the optical fibre backbone all across the country.  Jio GigaFibre is basically drawing upon this pipe. Jio GigaFibre will enable Jio to offer multiple last mile connectivity options to its customers, both terrestrial and mobile." 

Until now, an Indian home had at least two distinct connection points- cable or DTH for television; GPRS, ADSL or Ethernet for data. With the emergence of high megabit connectivity offering Voice, Data and Entertainment through a single pipe, there is a possibility of dropping down to a common gateway for all services."The ability to monopolize access to the home was not available until today. Jio’s announcements yesterday, including the launch of the GigaFibre Set Top Box offering a full linear channel and VOD portfolio, point to a fully converged, single gateway. This is a dramatic transformation of the distribution landscape," he shared. 

"Who gains and who loses in such a situation? Clearly, telcos may realistically contemplate a wide-ranging disruption of the current C&S landscape. While this does involve significant investments in connecting up the last mile, the current service providers, LCOs, MSOs etc. may become low-hanging acquisition targets to complete the service offering. Once the consumer’s home can be reached through only one access point, content suppliers- broadcasters, producers, indie creators- are at the mercy of the access point owner to deliver their content."

As of now, broadband penetration in India is low at 26 per cent as compared to 65 per cent mobile penetration. Jio coming up with its own set-top-box will directly impact DTH players such as Dish TV, Tata Sky, Hathway Cable to name a few.

“We believe that with the launch of Jio Giga Fibre, viewership on TV across genres would be negatively impacted as most of the content would be consumed online on various digital platforms. We believe this launch will disrupt home broadband pricing, forcing rivals such as Airtel, Dish TV etc to slash rates,” explained Karan Taurani, VP Research- Dolat Capital.

Also, the new launch could have a secondary impact on the larger mobile services market, if Jio chooses to bundle generous wired broadband packs with its current 4G plans.

Taurani also believes that Jio is on the verge of becoming a huge content house given its investments in Eros Now, ALT Balaji and Saavn. He said, “We expect more such investments towards content from Jio. Incremental viewership on TV will continue to have a negative impact as the youth audience moves towards Digital, which offers the wide variety of youth based shows by Amazon, Netflix, and Hotstar. We maintain our underweight stance on the TV segment and believe that an innovation of this scale will have a negative impact on advertisement and subscription growth rate in the medium term.”

Mukesh Ambani and Relaince Jio were trending on Twitter all day yesterday.

As marketing maven, Suhel Seth tweeted:

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