Prem Ojha – CEO of Fastway & Netplus Broadband Group.

NEW DELHI: Fixed-line internet service provider Netplus has planned capital expenditure (Capex) of Rs 300 crore in 2022 to grow its subscriber base and invest in technology.

Netplus, an internet services subsidiary of Fastway Transmissions Private Limited, has partnered with Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) for rural expansion.

“We are growing rapidly to increase coverage and capacity and have approximately 0.5 million home passes growing by half a million home passes each month. We are also extending our reach in rural areas,” Prem Ojha, CEO of Fastway & Netplus Broadband Group, told ETTelecom.

The ISP plans to increase its subscriber base to 7.5 lakh subscribers this year. “We are currently present in eight states in North India including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh and Delhi,” Ojha said. .

“We are going to deploy services [with BBNL] in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir in Phase 1,” he added.

Through a partnership with the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Netplus also offers bundled voice services to all of its retail customers.

BBNL is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), established in February 2012, to set up a fiber optic network in 2.5 lakh village panchayats across the country using the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

The government has proposed a merger of BBNL with BSNL.

According to data shared by Netplus, overall bandwidth usage and traffic per subscriber increased sharply from 2020 when Covid-19 started to grip India and people started using Internet services more than ever.

Date Total Usage (Gbps)
Traffic usage per subscriber (Mbps)
March 1, 2019 42.72 0.5
March 1, 2020 152.7 0.93
March 1, 2021 478 1.52
March 1, 2022 733.2 1.55

In March 2020, Netplus recorded total bandwidth usage of 42.72 Gbps and traffic per subscriber of 0.93 Mbps, which increased by approximately 380% and 66.66% to reach 733.2 Gbps and 1.55 Mbps, respectively, in March 2022.

Netplus selected Nokia for the capacity upgrade using GPON technology. The ISP has a similar contract with Huawei.

Considering the increase in bandwidth capacity, Netplus selected Finnish telecommunications equipment manufacturer Nokia to upgrade its existing intra-city Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) to higher capacity using the GPON technology (gigabit passive optical network). It has a similar contract with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei.

The Fastway subsidiary invests in technologies such as advanced management of consumer premises equipment (CPE), roaming facilities for broadband customers and migration to IPv6 (dual stack) platform to improve client experience.

“Our customer focus has led us to implement remote CPE management, preventative TR-069 applications and more with significant investment. Configuring caching and peering also helps improve customer experience,” Ojha said.

The number of wireline subscribers in India grew by 1.27% month-on-month to reach 24.21 million in February 2022, according to the latest subscriber data provided by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. (TRAI). The share of urban and rural subscribers in the total number of wireline subscribers was 92.07% and 7.93%, respectively, at the end of February.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, the two PSU access service providers, held 41.95% of the wireline market share at the end of February.