Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, or BSNL, has announced the commercial launch of "BSNL Wireless Broadband" service in the state of Gujarat. For this launch, the state-owned telecommunications company has collaborated with SOMA Networks, provider of WiMAX solutions.
Broadband connectivity will enable users to access high-speed, always-on Internet service in homes and offices. What is special about this wireless service is that it can reach even remote places, since it doesn't require wired infrastructure. The new BSNL Wireless Broadband service offers a range of service plans based on bandwidth rates, providing speeds from 256 kbps to 2 Mbps. Residential plans include two email addresses and 5 MB of storage. Business plans include up to four email addresses, and 5 MB of storage.
The service will be available to users after paying a one-time installation fee of Rs. 750. A 256 Kbps connection with unlimited downloading capacity will cost Rs. 1000 monthly, whereas a 512 Kbps connection with unlimited downloads will cost Rs. 1800 per month. Over the next couple of months, consumers could expect to see a range of interactive services to be introduced, which will include online shopping, banking, and bill payment, and new modes of communication using voice and video chats.
For the youth segment, there will be services such as social networking, sharing of videos, music and photos, and edutainment, to name a few. India has low Internet penetration of around 4.9% (compared with 68% in the US), while broadband penetration is even lower, at less than half a percent. This service will aim to significantly improve India's broadband tele-density, says BSNL's partnering company SOMA.
It has been heard time and again that WiMax is an enabler for many services and can help reduce healthcare costs, improve education, and enhance the reach of Government services to the public -- now is the time to look forward to such developments and assess them. Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) is the first enterprise to benefit from BSNL's broadband service in Gujarat. GIDC will make this service available to industries housed in their estates, and will also use this service in their own administrative offices.
The Indian Government has also underlined the mandate to provide broadband coverage to all secondary schools, public healthcare centers, and village panchayats (rural local bodies) by the end of 2009. Over the next few weeks, this service will be launched in the states of Goa and Andhra Pradesh, to be soon followed by Maharashtra.
You can visit wimax.bsnl.in to know more about BSNL's broadband services, although we can't assure you that you'll get past the ''Welcome to BSNL!!!'' message. Alternatively, call up 18002336600 for information.