New Delhi: Reliance Industries has unveiled its much awaited wired broadband service Jio GigaFiber starting at ₹700 a month going up to ₹10,000 a month depending on the usage plans, which will combine wired broadband, television content, landline calling and a host of smart solutions such as multi-player gaming and video conferencing.
“We will start this service commercially from 5 September at rates which are one-tenth compared to global rates," Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman Mukesh Ambani said at the 42nd AGM on Monday.
JioGigaFiber has received over 15 million registrations from 1,600 cities and the company has drawn up a plan to reach 20 million homes and 15 million business enterprises.
“Customers opting for one-year plan for Jio GigaFiber will even get an HD 4K LED television and a 4K set-top box free. We are calling this the Jio GigaFiber welcome offer," Ambani said.
The fibre offering will support mixed reality (augmented reality and virtual reality combined) which would enable immersive shopping experiences, high definition entertainment apart from high quality video calling anywhere in India.
Within less than three years of its launch, Jio has become the number one operator in terms of revenue and the second largest in terms of subscriber base.
In fact, at the last annual general meeting of Reliance Jio’s parent Reliance Industries Ltd in July 2018, chairman Mukesh Ambani had announced that GigaFiber will be the largest greenfield fixed-line broadband rollout globally. The company intends to roll out this service in 1,600 cities across India.
Registrations for Jio GigaFiber had opened in August last year.
A few months later, in October, Reliance said it would buy majority stakes in Den Networks Ltd and Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd for ₹5,230 crore—a move that it said would boost Jio GigaFiber.
Through these investments, Jio said it plans to boost 27,000 local cable operators that are aligned with Den and Hathway through superior back-end infrastructure, tie-ups with content producers, and investment in digital infrastructure for connecting customers.
“Our local cable operator partners will have access to GigaFiber homes and can earn revenue from broadcast services," Ambani said.
The wired broadband market is a highly under-penetrated one with huge room for growth. As of May end, there were just 18.45 million wired broadband users as against 562.52 million wireless broadband subscribers, data from the telecom regulator showed.
In fact, Jio’s thrust on wired broadband also assumes significance given the government’s focus on fibre in its national digital communications policy announced in May 2018, with a target of attracting investments of $100 billion in digital communications.
The policy’s goals include universal broadband for all, deployment of 5 million public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2020 and 10 million by 2022 through a National Broadband Mission, apart from implementing a “Fibre First Initiative" to take fibre to the home.
The commercial launch of Jio GigaFiber could disrupt the wired broadband market in the same way Reliance Jio disrupted the wireless market in September 2016.