Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Reliance Jio pledges simultaneous FTTH rollout in 1,100 cities

By Nick Wood, for Total Telecom
Thursday 05 July 18

Disruptive Indian operator turns its attention to fixed-line market; aims to propel country into global top five

Not satisfied with shaking up India's mobile market, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani on Thursday confirmed plans to turn his attention to the fixed-line sector. Addressing his company's annual general meeting, Ambani said his telco arm Reliance Jio aims to deploy fibre…

Not satisfied with shaking up India's mobile market, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani on Thursday confirmed plans to turn his attention to the fixed-line sector.

Addressing his company's annual general meeting, Ambani said his telco arm Reliance Jio aims to deploy fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in 1,100 cities simultaneously. Consumers and businesses can register their interest in receiving the service, which is called "JioGigaFiber", from 15 August; Jio's network rollout will prioritise locations from where it receives the highest number of registrations. Beta trials are already underway in tens of thousands of homes.

"JioGigaFiber will be the largest greenfield fixed-line broadband rollout anywhere in the world," Ambani claimed.

He noted that while India is a leader in mobile broadband uptake, when it comes to landline, a lack of adequate infrastructure has left the country ranking 134th in the fixed broadband league table.

"Jio is determined to move India to among the top five in fixed-line broadband," he said.

Rolling out ultrafast fixed-line infrastructure will open India up to a world of new services, he said, such as UHD TV, voice-activated virtual assistants, virtual/augmented reality, and smart home/living services.

Ambani said fibre connectivity will also make small businesses more agile and able to compete with larger rivals.

For enterprises, fibre will mean "having the ability to compete in the global marketplace using digital tools and techniques that are powering the fourth industrial revolution," he said.

Ambani did not disclose how much services will cost, but with India's fixed-line market not nearly as competitive as the mobile market, Jio will not be under as much pressure to disrupt a large group of entrenched rivals.

However, he will doubtless want to maintain his reputation for employing highly-aggressive tactics under the auspices of making services affordable for as many people as possible, so it would come as no shock if come JioGigaFiber's commercial launch day, Ambani has an eye-catching new trick up his sleeve.

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