Reliance Jio Infocomm said it has received strong response from several 900 cities and towns within a fortnight of the beginning of registrations because of its high-speed house broadband services.
ET talked to some LCOs in Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka regions who stated the origin of the last mile problem stems from their misgivings about Jio not partnering with them, but rather directly coming home societies and resident welfare associations (RWAs) to pitch the organization’s home broadband solutions. LCOs also fear that they will not be able to compete with Jio, which may well disrupt that business with its stone bottom offers, such as it’s in cellular services.
Jio officials, who asked to not be named, though, say they are willing to bring all stakeholders along, and build on the powerful response it has after registrations for Jio GigaFiber opened on August 15. Jio hasn’t given any date for a commercial roll-out.
“We are taking proactive steps to resolve any last-mile connectivity challenges to prioritise and guarantee timely roll-outs in markets where customer registrations have been powerful,” a senior company executive told ET, adding that the telco has”obtained enthusiastic consumer response from almost 900 cities across the nation” from the targeted 1,100 in just a fortnight because registrations for its FTTH services began on August 15.
AK Rastogi, president of Delhi-based All India Aavishkar Dish Antenna Sangh, one of the biggest cable TV operator institutions in the country, told ET the Jio’s move to do the last mile connectivity to its own”has caused confusion in the bottom level, creating differences between the company and the cable operators”.
His opinion was echoed by Arvind Prabhu, president of Maharashtra Cable Operators’ Federation, who told ET that the LCOs would be the last mile owners and have invested in the company for 20-25 decades, which is now under threat.
Experts say last mile connectivity deployments would be critical for Jio to establish its greenfield fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband solutions, especially since every building has to be physically connected, unlike in the cellular services industry where towers may be available and shared amongst telcos.
“FTTH, once done greenfield, is slow, and also last mile deployments are tricky, and there is always a possibility that take-up is slower than anticipated, and that’s why Jio’s goal of 50 million TV homes, indicating an yearly run rate of 7-8 million houses annually might not be simple to achieve organically,” Rajiv Sharma, HSBC director & telecom analyst, said.
But Jio is upbeat about its prospects. “People are not merely sending in their own requests, but also encouraging their neighbours to do so, and thus adding to the need, which would help the business prioritise roll-out schedules,” said the Jio executive.