Fixed-line 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: Fixed line internet services provider Netplus has planned a capital expenditure (Capex) outlay of Rs 300 crore in 2022 for growing its subscriber base and investing in technologies.

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

“We are expanding rapidly to increase coverage and capacity and have about 0.5 million home passes which are increasing at half a million home passes every month. We are also expanding our reach into rural areas,” Prem Ojha, Group CEO Fastway & Netplus Broadband, told ETTelecom.

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

“We will be rolling out services [with BBNL] in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir in phase-1,” he added.

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

BBNL is a special purpose vehicle (SPV), formed in February 2012, to lay out an optical fiber network across 2.5 lakh village panchayats across the country using the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

The government has proposed a merger of BBNL with BSNL.

According to the data shared by Netplus, overall bandwidth utilization and traffic per subscriber shot up sharply from 2020 onwards, when Covid-19 started gripping India and people started using internet services more than ever.

Date Total utilization (Gbps)
Traffic utilization 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

As of March 2020, Netplus registered total bandwidth utilization of 42.72Gbps and traffic per subscriber of 0.93Mbps which increased about 380% and 66.66% to 733.2Gbps and 1.55Mbps, respectively, as of March 2022.

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

In light of the increasing bandwidth capacity, Netplus has selected Finnish telecoms gear maker Nokia for upgrading its existing intracity DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) with 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 premises equipment (CPE) management, roaming facilities for broadband customers, and migrating to the IPv6 platform (dual-stack) aiming to enhance customer experience.

“Our customer-centric focus has led us to implement remote CPE management, preventive TR-069 applications and more with large investments. Caching and peering setup is also contributing to customer experience enhancement,” Ojha said.

Wireline subscribers in India have increased 1.27% month-on-month to 24.21 million as of February 2022, according to the latest subscriber data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The share of urban and rural subscribers in total wireline subscribers were 92.07% and 7.93%, respectively, at the end of February.

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

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