Reliance Jio is set to commence its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband service later this month, but it is still looking to overcome some of the challenges. The launch of JioGigaFiber FTTH broadband service will come bundled with content, set-top box and VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone and has the potential to disrupt not only the wired broadband segment in the same way it did with wireless market and could potentially disrupt the business of DTH operators as well.
The biggest challenge for the company so far has been deploying fiber in the last mile and it is planning to piggyback on the infrastructure of local cable operators to meet the demand of its broadband customers. “The process of laying fiber outside has been stopped due to unfavorable weather as the government does not give permission to dig during rains,” a person familiar with company’s plans told the Mint.
At its 41st annual general meeting held on July 5 in Mumbai, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani detailed company’s plans to offer home broadband service in the country. He revealed that Reliance Jio will begin registration for JioGigaFiber from August 15 and the roll out will be prioritized across localities based on the highest number of registration.
Reliance Jio has not officially revealed the date for commercial roll out of its fiber broadband service but it is expected to begin by the end of this year. With the commercial launch, Reliance JioGigaFiber will be the largest greenfield fixed-line broadband roll out globally and the company plans to introduce the service across 1,100 cities simultaneously.
“It does not look like the company will be able to go for a mass-scale launch. Rights of way is a huge problem at municipality level. To overcome this, Jio has appointed one liaisoning officer for every state to ensure the roll-out is not delayed,” the person told the newspaper.
Watch: Oppo Find X First Look Video
Ambani said that his company plans to offer home and office connectivity to 50 million users with its JioGigaFiber. However, analysts don’t seem convinced and see last-mile connectivity issues to be a big hurdle for the company. Analysts also note that the capital expenditure per subscriber will be high and the payback period could be longer than that of its wireless service.
Ahead of JioGigaFiber roll out, both Airtel and BSNL have been boosting their own broadband plans to offer more data at a faster speed. It is not immediately clear how Reliance Jio plans to price its broadband service and the looming question is whether it will be acquire customers in a country with one of the lowest wired broadband connection.