Reliance Jio planning to launch broadband network, TV service early next year

Reliance Jio is targeting 100 million TV households in 30 cities of the country.

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After disrupting Indian telecom, Reliance Jio might well be turning its attention towards another sector – cable television. Reports suggest that the Mukesh Ambani-owned firm is planning to roll out a high-speed fiber to the home (FTTH) broadband network early next year. Not only that, a Jio TV service would also be bundled with the FTTH network across 30 small and big cities. Jio is targeting over 100 million television households in the country, the report added.

 Jio has managed to garner 128 million mobile subscribers in a little over a year, and it has laid out over 300,000 kilometers of optic fiber in the country to provide high-speed 4G data to its customers. For the upcoming broadband network, Jio has already started beta trials in select areas of Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat and Vadodara. The JioFiber network can carry a data speed up to 1Gbps. By December, Jio is looking to connect high-population clusters on its FTTH network in as many as 100 locations in the country.

Jio would be providing a special router that connects multiple TV devices. It would likely be available at a refundable deposit of Rs 4,500. Once its broadband service is rolled out, the firm is looking at an ARPU of Rs 1,000. That is on the higher side, given ARPUs for even DTH providers today is under Rs 300. This is also an indication that Jio could offer additional services or content bouquets on top of a conventional television package. At present, the JioFiber trials can be availed on an invite basis only.

Now, why is Jio shifting focus to satellite television? First, the opportunity is huge. India is a predominantly TV market still. Second, the telecom honeymoon is over and the market is stabilizing as all operators, including Jio, are steadily raising tariffs. Hence, a new battleground ought to be identified, and in its July AGM, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani had stated that Jio’s broadband would be the next monetization opportunity. “Jio remains on track to bring optic fiber connectivity to enterprises, home and public place. Most infratstructure is already in place,” he had said.

 

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