DEN to invest Rs 100 cr on pan-India broadband roll-out in next 3 years

MUMBAI: DEN Broadband, the broadband arm of cable TV company DEN Networks, plans to invest an estimated Rs 100 crore Capex over the next 3 years on high-speed broadband roll-out across India.

The company plans to roll-out broadband service to 100 cities across India in 2018. Subsequently, the broadband services will be rolled out in 500+ cities across DEN’s 11 million cable TV homes in the coming 2-3 years.

DEN has already started its first phase of expansion in 15 cities after running a pilot project in five cities. DEN will focus on its existing cable TV markets of UP, Karnataka, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand amongst others for the broadband roll-out.

The company aims to capitalise on its existing cable TV infrastructure to provide hi-speed fixed broadband internet. It intends to provide a broadband speed of up to 1Gbps at affordable prices. The company’s broadband expansion plan is in sync with the massive growth in the internet consumption in the country.

Talking about the company’s broadband strategy, DEN Networks CEO SN Sharma said, “This is a game-changing moment not just for DEN but also for the Internet users in the country. Our hard work and investment in transforming our Co-ax cable trunk routes into fiber optics will now yield tangible results. For DEN it will mean a minimum investment whereas for our users it will mean best in class Internet speed.”

DEN plans to roll out through a franchisee model by leveraging the strength of its last mile operator (LMO) network. Its 14,000+ LMO network would use its technology while adhering to the operational standards set by DEN.

Being the franchisor, DEN will bill the subscribers directly and collect tariffs from them directly. The franchisee would get paid based on their agreement and size of their investment.

The company is building its fixed broadband infrastructure using a mix of GPON/FTTX and Metro Ethernet technologies enabling download speeds from 20 Mbps till 1 Gbps.

Currently, about 6% Indian households have a fixed broadband connection in a market of 284 million households, while most leading developed nations have a market penetration of above 70%.

Data usage in India has already jumped 144 percent (y-o-y) with average consumption per user in 4G Broadband reaching 11GB per month. Moreover, the rise in data consumption has not been matched by a corresponding increase in the speed of connection.

While India globally ranks 67th in fixed broadband speeds with an average download speed of 20.72 Mbps, mobile broadband speed still lags behind at 109th rank with an average download speed of 9.01 Mbps, as per Ookla’s speed test Global Index, Feb 2018 report.

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