The demand for fixed-line internet services is only going to go up from here. There's no doubt that 5G can deliver great speeds to consumers, but that's not really an alternative to fiber broadband connections. With fiber connections, the experience will certainly be more reliable/ consistent, and you can also expect the services to be up most of the time. The internet service providers (ISPs) in India have more than doubled in the last decade. Especially during the time of the pandemic, the need for reliable fixed-line internet connections reflected throughout the country. With a fiber connection, remote working and in-home entertainment became possible, especially when the amount of data users were consuming wasn't an issue.
Most of the major ISPs in India offer unlimited data broadband plans. Many have FUP (fair usage policy) limits hidden in the terms and conditions, but even that limit is somewhere around 3TB or more. The telecom operators, including Vodafone Idea (Vi), Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), are offering fiber broadband services in many parts of the country. Airtel and Jio are making heavy investments to reach more and more parts of the nation with their fiber to enable high-speed internet connectivity for everyone.
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With time, more businesses would go digital and digital literacy would be higher than where it stands now. Thus, more users are naturally going to require access to reliable internet connectivity.
According to the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) report, at the beginning of 2022, there were 24.21 million wireline subscribers in India. At the end of Dec 31, 2022, the figure went up to 32.35 million. The slow growth is not because there is not enough demand but because fiber infrastructure has not reached everywhere. Even inside urban cities, there are several areas where fiber connections have not reached.
In the coming years, we are going to see more and more homes purchasing fiber broadband connections to power several IoT (internet of things) devices inside their house. It is worth noting that there are many local and regional ISPs in play throughout India. These regional ISPs also have a strong and loyal customer base. But local ISPs can be pretty expensive in some cases if there is no major competitor. That is why it is important that the government and the ISPs work together to ensure that a faster rollout of fiber broadband services happens in India.
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From the policy and infrastructure side of things, the government can make a huge difference. The central RoW (Right of Way) rules also ensure that the IPs (infrastructure providers) can lay out infra at reasonable costs and at a faster rate. Further, the government has also said there will be fines if the underground fiber/cables are cut by other parties.
To facilitate better communication between the owner of the fiber and the party that's digging, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has also brought a new app called Call Before U Dig for the users.