Reliance Jio Infocomm said it’s received strong response from some 900 cities and towns within a fortnight of the beginning of registrations because of its high-speed home broadband services. The Mukesh Ambani-owned firm, however is facing some resistance from local cable operators (LCOs), in extending crucial last mile connectivity in key markets.
LCOs also fear they will not be able to compete with Jio, which may well disrupt that industry with its stone bottom offers, like it’s in cellular services.
Jio officials, who asked to not be named, however, say they are eager to bring all stakeholders along, and build on the powerful response it’s got after registrations for Jio GigaFiber started on August 15. Jio has not given any date to get a commercial roll-out.
“We’re taking proactive actions to solve any last-mile connectivity challenges to prioritise and guarantee timely roll-outs in markets in which customer registrations are strong,” a senior company executive told ET, adding that the telco has”got enthusiastic consumer response from nearly 900 cities throughout the country” out of the targeted 1,100 in just a fortnight since registrations for its FTTH services began on August 15.
AK Rastogi, president of Delhi-based All India Aavishkar Dish Antenna Sangh, one of the largest cable TV operator institutions in the nation, told ET the Jio’s movement to perform the last mile connectivity on its own”has caused confusion at the bottom level, creating differences between the company and the cable operators”.
His view was echoed by Arvind Prabhu, president of Maharashtra Cable Operators’ Federation, who told ET that the LCOs would be the final shuttle owners and have invested in the company for 20-25 decades, which is now under threat.
Ravi Singh, manager of DEN Satellite Network, a Mumbai-based JV of DEN Network, stated since Jio is now directly coming flat owners and RWAs,”cable operators are somewhat nervous”.
Experts say last mile connectivity deployments would be crucial for Jio to establish its own greenfield fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband solutions, especially since every building needs to be physically linked, unlike in the mobile services business where towers may be available and shared among telcos.
“FTTH, when completed greenfield, is slow, and final mile deployments are catchy, and there is always a possibility that take-up is slower than estimated, and that’s why Jio’s goal of 50 million TV homes, indicating an annual run rate of 7-8 million houses per year may not be easy to achieve organically,” Rajiv Sharma, HSBC manager & telecom analyst, stated.
However, Jio is optimistic about its prospects. “People aren’t merely sending in their own requests, but also encouraging their acquaintances to do so, and thus adding to the demand, which might help the company prioritise roll-out schedules,” stated the Jio executive.