The telecom giant Reliance has made it a point to not let competitors breathe easy since the launch of its Jio 4G network. With its latest announcement, pertaining to Reliance’s plans to soon introduce India’s fastest fibre Internet service in the market, Reliance has once again left other players in the industry jittery.
On 5 July, to mark the 41st Annual General Meeting of Reliance Industries, the company officially launched JioGigaFiber, a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband service. Also known as JioFibre, the service will be available across 1,100 cities across India—for commercial, industrial as well as domestic users—offering download speeds of up to 1Gbps.
Reliance is also set to release two new devices—GigaTV, a set-top box; and Gigarouter—alongside the JioGigaFiber service, for which registrations open on 15 August.
With the GigaTV, subscribers can enjoy 600+ TV channels, as well as apps like JioTV, JioCinema, JioSmartLiving, JioStore, JioCloud, plus voice assistance in several Indian languages. “TV calling” is an important feature that will enable users to video call anyone with the same network on their TV. It is also available for smartphones and tablets irrespective of the carrier.
According to some sources, it is also likely that the company might offer free services to subscribers for the first three to five months, as was the case with the Jio 4G plan.
The JioGigaFiber service is not just aimed at improving Internet connectivity in homes. It is also targeted at businesses, at all types of merchants and entrepreneurs. “Fixed-line broadband,” says Mukesh Ambani, Managing Director, Reliance Infocomm, in a video released on Reliance Jio’s official Twitter account, “means when you combine fixed-line connectivity with cloud applications with the agility and the customer obsession of a small business. You empower them to compete on level terms with lager businesses. Jio is thus performing a task of vital national importance because the success of Indian small businesses and merchants translate directly into faster and more sustainable growth with large-scale employment for the Indian economy. Likewise, for large enterprises fixed-line broadband will mean having the ability to compete in the global marketplaces using the digital tools and techniques that are powering the fourth industrial revolution. We are calling this fiber-based broadband service: the JioGigaFibre.”
This is the first time Indian users are being offered high-speed Internet of this calibre. In a country where 10Mbps is considered above par, Reliance’s claim of 1Gbps is sure to be a game-changer. Reliance, of course, has already disrupted the market with its Jio 4G, winning over a majority of telecom consumers across India. JioGigaFiber, analysts say, is likely to reinforce Reliance’s dominance further.
Telecom brands are already on guard. After Reliance’s announcement, many of India’s leading players started offering heavy discounts on their broadband plans. Airtel has responded by eliminating the FUP (Fair Usage Policy) limit on broadband plans in Hyderabad. In addition to this, they have also scrapped one plan out of five from its broadband list. Now, the available plans start from Rs 349 at a speed of 8Mbps to Rs 1,299 at 100 Mbps for one month. Besides, they are offering 15% discount for users availing the service for six months, and 20% to the ones opting for yearly packages. BSNL, for its part, has also come up with a new plan, which provides users 200GB data at a speed of 20Mbps, at Rs 995.
Looking at all this, it seems like Reliance is set to rattle the market once again. It’s possible that in the coming months, we might witness other telecom giants introducing their own fibre-internet connections. One thing is certain, that on this Independence Day, India will have taken a giant leap ahead, into the age of the Internet.