Cisco Sr VP Purushotam Kaushik: Private telecom operators will drive broadband growth in 12-18 months

According to TRAI, India’s broadband subscriber base has increased to 14.68 million in July 2012 from from 14.50 million in June 2012, up 1.2 percent. India’s broadband sector attracts several technology vendors. Cisco believes broadband segment growth is an opportunity for telecom vendors, service providers and critical for country’s growth. Cisco is focused on leveraging this through investments in IP transport and access technologies, >100G IPoDWDM transport and Wi-Fi access. Cable segment will play a massive role in driving broadband segment and Cisco is a market leader in this business today.

Purushotam Kaushik, senior vice president, SP, Cisco India and SAARC

Purushotam Kaushik, senior vice president, SP, Cisco India and SAARC, talks about growth plans in India. Excerpts of an online interview:

What are the new opportunities in broadband?

Broadband has become an indispensible tool for business users and consumers alike. It provides immense opportunities to improve quality of life as well for economic growth. It enables access to a plethora of services, including online shopping and banking, entertainment and gaming, remote education and teleworking, public services, and healthcare – and this list is by no means exhaustive. As a result, the number of broadband subscribers around the world continues to grow annually, and now exceeds 500 million. Broadband can also help generate jobs, growth, productivity and long-term economic competitiveness. However, for the next-generation services, including telemedicine, remote care for the elderly, online learning, and building security high speed internet is required. Moreover, broadband is changing and will continue to change consumption of online vide, which has been evolving from low-quality, short-form clips to high-quality, long-form programs and movies, delivered through various platforms.

Alongside the growth in the number of Internet connections, the capacity required by each individual subscriber is rapidly increasing. However, point to note is that access of internet will not be enough for a better life but skill and content will be equally crucial to benefit from it.

Private operators never tried to expand fixed broadband. What are the solutions to motivate     operators to invest in fixed broadband?

Private operators could not expand in this segment on account of challenges in rolling out wireline infrastructure (fiber and copper) to the home and economics around the same. However, today 4G (LTE) and SP Wi-Fi technologies can offer high speed broadband options at almost same speeds as wireline with flexibility of mobility. Service Providers in India are already leveraging these options and next 12-18 months, private operators will be driving the broadband growth through the same.

On fixed broadband, unbundling of copper loop (BSNL/MTNL) will help solving the last mile problem that all operators are struggling with. Moreover, driving and leveraging cable plant which has a large penetration for extending broadband will be critical.

Do you expect broadband tariffs crashing in the next 12-18 months?

Wireless broadband tariffs have already shown significant trends of crashing and also in anticipation of new LTE players’ entry, traiffs will further be rationalized. However instead of MB/Mbps based tariff plans which are today offered as either Unlimited/ Capped options, the revenue focus will be applications riding on same. Video will be a critical play and likely to be next voice thus driving the data traffic in big way.

4G expansion will happen in the next 12 months. Will it affect fixed broadband growth?

With the convergence of the Internet and wireless communications, mobile data services are undergoing tremendous growth. As users increasingly enter the network and create an enormous surge in mobile traffic, mobile operators need to focus on the quality of experience they provide to their users.  Broadband network technologies such as 3G, enhanced 3G and now 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) or 4G specifications are being deployed to meet user expectations for speed in an increasingly mobile, wireless environment. However the transition from 3G to 4G can take a period of several years and mobile operators will need strategies and solutions that will enhance their existing 3G networks, while addressing their 4G deployment requirements.

What are Cisco’s innovations in broadband space?

We build our broadband solutions on a Cisco IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) Carrier Ethernet design, enhanced packet core for wireless broadband (EPC) and leveraging the innovation and leadership in SP-Wifi domain. Business, residential, wholesale, and managed services easily integrate over a converged broadband network IP/MPLS infrastructure. With our broadband solutions, one can:

Offer consistent and reliable transport of any-play services as part of an end-to-end medianet

Deliver any type of service anywhere, to any device

With increasing subscriber demand for new Internet and video applications, need more intelligent, scalable broadband solutions. This required a medianet, an intelligent network that is optimized for media services, from the core network to the subscriber premises. Cisco has innovative offerings for the evolving high speed broadband requirements like increasing Video traffic through optimized content delivery network (CDN) and Videoscape platform. Cisco has demonstrated huge success through its market leadership in EPC (packet core) domain allowing service providers to maximize the revenue and avoid getting reduced to provider of broadband pipes.

As a global leader in Ethernet and IP/MPLS networks, Cisco offers comprehensive broadband aggregation solutions built on a Carrier Ethernet design that is optimized for media services. This design converges residential, business, and mobile services over a single packet-switched infrastructure.

We work with service providers and architecture of Cisco broadband solutions provides advanced subscriber intelligence and policy control, as well as the end-to-end resiliency and scalability required to deliver triple-play services.

Broadband Solutions for DSL Aggregation:

Worldwide broadband DSL access is growing. As one continues to scale their broadband offerings, ways to simplify operations and increase subscriber intelligence becomes inevitable.

What are the new products in the pipeline?

New products in the pipe line are: Innovative products in SP Wifi domain, Videoscape architecture, NGN, IP, IPRAN oDWDM, and Content delivery networks.


Internet using 3G connection is yet to take off. What will be the growth drivers?

Due to the regulatory delay 3G services were launched in India towards the end of 2010. The operators started the roll out plan and services announcements in beginning of 2011. As per a report by Evalueserve the current inhibitors to 3G uptake are short term in nature, and 3G subscription will increase at a rapid pace (30 percent CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate) between 2012 and 2016 to cross the 200-million mark.  Some of the main factors to trigger the growth of 3G in the country are:

Tariff reduction by operators: Slashing of 3G rates by operators will give a push adoption of the technology. Recently, many operators have cut the price and this will definitely drive the 3G growth in the country.

Video: Video is the new voice. According to the Cisco VNI, online video in the country will dominate up to 70 per cent of all internet traffic by 2016 up from 30 per cent in 2011. Also consumer internet video traffic will grow 32-fold from 2011 to 2016 at a CAGR of 100 per cent. So the unprecedented increase in video and data will trigger the growth of 3G as the number of consumers accessing internet from Smartphones is mounting by each day.

Improved ecosystem and availability of affordable and compatible handsets: A mature eco system is crucial for survival and growth of any new technology. The operators are investing in the up-gradation and improvement of their networks for success of 3G. Furthermore, easy and affordable access of the compatible handsets is also driving 3G in the country.

Video is expected to grow significantly. How the slow growth of broadband affecting video?

As mentioned above, online and offline video in the country will dominate up to 70 per cent of all internet traffic by 2016. Therefore, it will not be an exaggeration to say that Video is set for a never before growth.

The broadband is growing rapidly in India. In fact, India registered a growth of 24.5 per cent in broadband subscribers in 2011, one of the fastest across the globe and the nation is poised to become one of the top 10 countries in terms of user base this year after clinching 11th rank in the global pecking order as per Broadband Forum study. The total base of broadband users in the country stands at 13.33 million. The growth is undoubtedly sluggish compared to the uptake in mobile usage; nonetheless it is the third fastest in the world. This broadband growth is all set to pick up even more with the role out of 3G, 4G and government’s target to increase broadband penetration in the rural India. Internet access through mobile phone will provide further imputes to Video growth in the country, as the people who do not have PC will also be able to access it through their phones.

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