Fiber In Bangalore

While in Germany the local incumbent continues dragging its feet it comes to deploying Fiber To The Home (FTTH), other countries are much more advanced. Take France for example. Or Bangalore in India… Here are some pictures and thoughts.

1a-smWhen I was recently in Bangalore, I didn’t only have a look at the LTE deployment there but also noted that Fiber to the Home (FTTH) was well deployed in the center of the city where I stayed. Actually, it’s quite easy to see as the fiber cables are, like power and telephone cables just thrown over trees and fixed on them. Who needs poles when you have trees!? To a European eye it looks totally chaotic. And it probably is.

1b-smAlso, I saw more than one fiber splice box that had its cover missing. No, I’m not joking, the fibers are plainly visible! Have a look at the first two images that show how a fiber is branched away and how the cable is fixed to a tree (click to enlarge). Fortunately, fiber doesn’t rust unlike the pieces of metal that fix the fiber cables as they go in and out of the box.

2-smFrom a pricing point of view a sign at the street advertises 50 Mbit/s fiber connectivity at 1100 INR a month, which is about 15 Euros. On the web page of the service provider (Hathway), access is advertised from 2699 INR for 3 months (12 Euros per month) to 9899 INR (11 Euros per month) for the cheapest offer. Actually all offers are for 50 Mbit/s in the downlink direction, no mention is made about the available uplink speed. A pity as this is one of the strengths of fiber connectivity. The offers differ in the amount of data per month that can be used at full speed after which a speed step down to 512 kbit/s or 1 Mbit/s is imposed. Data buckets between 30 and 75 GB are offered. For people streaming video content even the 75 GB offer seems quite limited. I have no idea, however, if there are video streaming offers in India (yet). But, yes, the data buckets are the catch of those offers. Also, admittedly, offering 50 Mbit/s over fiber is rather at the low end, even incumbents in Europe are offering higher speeds over old copper infrastructure these days. Another thing missing from the web page is how much it costs to get connected in the first place. If you live in India and can shed some more light on these open points, please consider leaving a comment.

2 thoughts on “Fiber In Bangalore”

  1. The download caps are due to bandwidth in India being very expensive. This is due to taxes and lack of competition.

  2. Martin,

    Yes, recently NetFlix was launched in India. Also, for the installation of wired broadband, there is typically a one-time non-refundable fee of approx. 500-1000 INR. This is provided there is fiber coverage in the locality/apartment. There may also be a refundable fee or monthly rent for the WiFi router, if the customer opts for it.

    Unfortunately, very few things are right with wired broadband in India. Yes, Bangalore being a major cosmopolitan city, does have fiber deployments. But there are couple of points to consider. Firstly, the reach of fiber installations. A closer look on the operator websites reveal that fiber is available only in selected posh localities. At times, only the expensive apartment complexes have them. The vast majority of the city lacks them. In fact, truth be told, there are locations within city limits where having even a copper line is a godsend. The other factor is the cost. Typically the price most people would be comfortable paying per month is no more than 1200-1500 INR. Now Hathway’s plans are good going by that. But where it’s not available incumbents like Airtel, BSNL are far too costly with plans starting from 2500 INR per month.

    The conclusion from all this is, right now, FTTH is only used by those who have access to & can afford it. Other options include cable internet which is normally pretty good, provided there’s coverage. A large percentage of subscribers, even in large cities, rely on copper lines operated by incumbents like Airtel & BSNL. Just to give you an idea of the pricing: I have a BSNL ADSL line which offers 8 GB data usage at 2 Mbps, thereafter speeds drop to 512 kbps with unlimited usage. Fixed-line calling is also included. All this for a rent of 1050 INR per month.

Comments are closed.