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2013 will be crucial year for broadband

Gurgaon-headquartered Radius Infratel recently announced retail broadband users in nine Indian cities would have access to ultra-fast download speeds of 1Gbps by mid-2013.
Written by Swati Prasad, Contributor

Imagine downloading a two-hour movie in high-definition (HD) in 30 seconds. Today most of us here in India can't dream of such speeds, but if Radius Infratel CEO Rajnish Wahi is to be believed, this would be a reality within the next year.

According to the telecom infrastructure company, broadband users in nine Indian cities may have access to ultra-fast download speeds of one gigabit per second (Gbps) by mid-2013.

"In the next six to nine months, world-class 1Gbps plans will be available in India to residential consumers. On connections like these, the same two-hour HD movie will download in 30 seconds," Wahi told a publication here.

At average broadband speeds, the same movie takes over an hour to be fully downloaded.

Wahi declined to disclose the names of service providers or cities where these plans will be first made available. However, he said discussions were underway and network deployment already had been completed to enable this in Gurgaon.

Radius uses its NANO technology, or Neutral Access Network Operations. It is an open access network whereby any number of service providers can simultaneously provide any number of services through a single fiber, without losing their individual identities.

According to the Radius' Web site, this is its proprietary technology. Radius is utilizing this technology to transform a basic FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) network into a shared FTTH network.

Wahi said Radius partnered real estate developers, such as DLF, Unitech, Emaar MGF, Ansal, Mantri, Vipul, ATS and Omaxe, on enabling fiber optic network to provide high-speed broadband services in projects being developed by them.

At present, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices have launched 100Mbps plans for common users. These cost over Rs 5,000 per month.

According to reports, 1Gbps Internet services were recently launched in Kansas City in the United States.

Is this news a cause of worry for LTE operators? What happens to new technologies like LTE if telecom providers are able to offer such high speeds through innovations like NANO? So far, Bharti Airtel and BSNL have launched 4G services in India.

According to a recent news report, Bharti Airtel has 3,180 TD-LTE subscribers through its 4G network in Kolkata and Bangalore. And state-run BSNL has provided 50,077 connections through 4G/WiMAX, according to the minister of state for communications and information technology Milind Deora.

While the response to 4G hasn't been very exciting, it seems like 2013 will be a crucial year for India insofar as Internet services are concerned.

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