Researcher says India's bandwidth capacity surging

March 18, 2004
March 18, 2004 - Installing fiber post-bubble, India's bandwidth capacity rose from 21 Gbits/sec in 1999 to a projected 541 Gbits/sec by the end of this year.

Once dependent on limited and expensive international communications infrastructure, India has rapidly become well connected to the rest of the world. According to new research from TeleGeography (www.telegeography.com), India's international submarine cable capacity will have grown from 31 Gbits/sec in 2001 to 541 Gbits/sec by the end of this year-a 17-fold increase in three years.

According to TeleGeography, India's bandwidth capacity, in Gbtis/sec, for the eight-year period covering 1997 through 2004 is as follows: 1997 - 11; 1998 - 11; 1999 - 21; 2000 - 31; 2002 - 201; 2003 - 221; 2004 - 541.

India missed out on the bandwidth boom of the late 1990s, which put vast international capacity across the Atlantic and Pacific but left India relatively isolated, said Alan Mauldin, senior research analyst at TeleGeography Research. As a combined result of market liberalization, access to capital, and increased end-user demand, India is no longer stranded. Companies such as Tata Indicom, Reliance Infocomm, and the Bharti Group have all financed new cable construction.

For the moment, however, access to this bandwidth comes at a premium. According to the latest TeleGeography research, capacity prices from the U.S. to India are still five to ten times higher than on the U.S. to Hong Kong route. "Inevitably, the increase in capacity and number of competing cable systems will drive down the price of bandwidth to India," added Mauldin. "In other parts of Asia, prices declined by 60 percent or more in the last year. This could easily be repeated on Indian routes for years to come."

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