Q: Being an incumbent operator, MTNL has a large legacy network. In view of the fast changes taking place in technology, how do you plan to upgrade your network?
A: We are migrating to a full IP network so that we are able to give real converged service to our subscribers. We are looking at a scenario where one access device is able to take up to the requirement of voice, data, video, leased lines/VPNs. We are also looking at a common IP-based aggregation layer to carry traffic for all the above to an IP-based backbone for connection with other networks. Once these are in place, we will be able to give enhanced services which will be IP centric to our customers. Customers will get better services and we will not have to manage different networks for different services.
Q: How long will it take to migrate into a full IP network?
A: IP core based on MPLS technology is already in place. We will be shortly coming out with a tender to expand this core and also deploy aggregation layers and we hope to start rolling out this network by December this year. Dslams today support speeds up to 100 Mbps but we are also looking at Dslams which will also support voice along with high speeds up to 1 Gbps. Tender for this is in the pipeline. We expect to deploy state of art Dslams by March 2009.
Q: What is the reason for making the whole network IP-based?
A: We have to give latest services to the voice subscribers, especially IP-based services. The roll out of new services will be much faster. It will be easy to manage the network because you will have only one network to control. Then Opex also comes down considerably. We are basically looking at 21st century network.
Q: What is the status of IPTV services?
A: IPTV has started growing and we are adding about 40-50 connections per day. We are now providing full bouquet of channels. We are also increasing the number of content providers to bring competition.
Q: Don''t you think that adding 40-50 connections per day is a very low figure for a telecom giant like MTNL?
A: When we introduced broadband, the initial growth was similar. This was due to teething problems in the technology. Now, we are adding about 1,000 connections per day for last one year. This is without much advertising efforts. We are getting growth only by word of mouth. We expect that IPTV should also achieve similar numbers in due course.
Q: What is the status of broadband? There was a long waiting list for broadband connections in Mumbai. What is your say on this matter and has the problem been resolved?
A: Now we have provided additional capacity in Mumbai. There was a temporary set back due to capacity constraint. Now we have diverted a capacity of 2 lakh lines from Delhi and we expect that the service will soon be available on demand.