Fixed internet provider Netplus plans Rs 300 crore capex in 2022, partners BBNL for rural expansion, Telecom News, ET Telecom

Prem Ojha – Group CEO Fastway & Netplus Broadband.

NEW DELHI: Netplus, an internet service provider for fixed lines, has planned a capital expenditure (Capex) of Rs 300 crore in 2022 for expanding its subscriber base and investing in technologies.

Netplus, an internet services subsidiary of Fastway Transmissions Private Limited, has entered into a partnership with Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) for rural expansion.

“We are rapidly expanding to increase coverage and capacity and have approximately 0.5 million home cards increasing by half a million home cards each month. We are also expanding our reach to rural areas,” said Prem Ojha, Group CEO Fastway & Netplus Broadband, to ETTelecom.

The ISP expects to grow its subscriber base to 7.5 lakh subscribers this year. “We are currently present in eight states in Northern India including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Chandigarh and Delhi,” said Ojha.

“We are going to roll out services [with BBNL] in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir in stage-1,” he added.

Through a partnership with state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Netplus also offers bundled voice services to all of its retail customers.

BBNL is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established in February 2012, to build a fiber optic network in 2.5 lakh village panchayats across the country with the help of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

The government has proposed a merger of BBNL with BSNL.

According to the data shared by Netplus, total bandwidth usage and traffic per subscriber skyrocketed from 2020 when Covid-19 started to grip India and people started using internet services more than ever.

Date Total usage (Gbps)
Traffic usage per subscriber (Mbps)
March 1, 2019 42.72 0.5
March 1, 2020 152.7 0.93
March 1, 2021 478 1.52
March 1, 2022 733.2 1.55

In March 2020, Netplus registered total bandwidth usage of 42.72 Gbps and traffic per subscriber of 0.93 Mbps, which increased by approximately 380% and 66.66% in March 2022 to 733.2 Gbps and 1.55 Mbps, respectively.

Netplus has selected Nokia for capacity upgrade using GPON technology. The ISP has a similar contract with Huawei.

In light of increasing bandwidth capacity, Netplus has selected Finnish telecom equipment manufacturer Nokia to upgrade its existing intracity DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) to higher capacity using GPON (gigabit passive optical network) technology. It has a similar contract with Chinese telecom company Huawei.

The Fastway subsidiary is investing in technologies such as advanced consumer equipment management (CPE), roaming facilities for broadband customers and the migration to the IPv6 (dual-stack) platform with the aim of improving the customer experience.

“Our customer-centric focus has led us to deploy remote CPE management, preventative TR-069 applications and more with major investments. Setting up caching and peering also helps improve the customer experience,” said Ojha.

According to the latest subscriber data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the number of subscribers in India increased by 1.27% monthly to 24.21 million in February 2022. The share of urban and rural subscribers in the total number of fixed subscribers was at the end of February 92.07% and 7.93% respectively.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, the two PSU access service providers, held 41.95% of the fixed market share at the end of February.


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