Outside of New Delhi, where it was founded back in 2000, the name "Star Broadband" may not mean much, but this ISP has been out to build a name for itself on the strength of its network and its commitment to infrastructure development. What it's done with its own network may well indicate a possible direction for other ISPs to take in terms of using Ethernet extenders to reach more customers with service. CXO Dialogue recently staged an interview with Star Broadband's Rajan Bakshi to talk more about what Star Broadband was doing in the sector.
With the market for multi-service provision in India being a major market to say the least, and Indian consumers deeply price-sensitive, it means that companies like Star Broadband are hard pressed to keep the level of service they provide balanced against the prices that consumers will pay with the ultimate result of trying to deliver the best in service.
To that end, Star Broadband's prices are deeply market-driven, as the parameters they use in terms of establishing pricing is based largely on what the competitors are charging, though based on word from the company, most of the market in the area is using the same parameters when it comes to establishing prices, like what kind of services can be offered at what price. Indeed, it's not out of line to say everyone's using the same parameters, even if one company is using multiple parameters to create its pricing while everyone else is just saying "What is everyone else charging? Let's just charge about that.".
Though getting the initial operation is the biggest financial challenge, it's also the best opportunity to make the most happen in terms of making an ISP firm like Star Broadband into a major player in the industry by focusing on the network and providing continuing expansion. What Star Broadband has particularly noticed is that, while the total number of television viewers has gone up--mostly because users previously did not have access to television--the longer-term view suggests that television is on the decline. While they're breaking into a boom market, there is stabilization involved, and that's reducing the total viewership in terms of hours viewed.
That's leading Star Broadband to an important realization throughout India, as expressed in a remark from the interview: "The masses have no Internet.". This in and of itself represents both a significant problem and a major opportunity, and is exactly the kind of thing that Ethernet extenders were created to solve. Right now, only about 10 percent of the Indian population has Internet access, but even Star Broadband believes that, within around two generations, the entire country could have access. Ethernet Extenders, like those offered by Patton (News - Alert), have already shown themselves to do a great job of providing service even in weather conditions that could be, charitably, considered "adverse".
While it may take some time before large portions of India, especially those outside the cities, have the kind of Internet access required to bring the might of the Indian population to bear on what's popular online, it's clear that the job likely won't be done without the use of Ethernet extenders. Satellite access doesn't have the bandwidth to do the job alone, and the idea of running fiber directly to all the homes and businesses in a wide geographical dispersion is a task that would beggar any company. So bringing in Ethernet extenders is a great start to a solution that gets everybody access.
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Edited by Peter Bernstein