Visakhapatnam: With chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu expected to launch the AP Fibergrid project in East Godavari on Independence Day this year, the AP State Fibernet Limited (APSFL) is planning to deliver around 8 lakh boxes for providing internet, phone and cable connectivity in the next one year.
However, unlike the announcement made earlier by APSFL to supply one triple-play box through which customers could obtain all the three connections, sources said now two different boxes will be supplied to customers. While one of the boxes would provide internet and phone connectivity, the second box would be used for providing cable connectivity.
“We had empanelled four companies for supplying the boxes out of which the lowest bid has been received from a Korean company named Dawson. However, we have informed the other three companies that we will procure the boxes from them if they match the bid announced by the Korean firm,” an APSFL official said, adding, “During the first year, we are targeting around 8 lakh boxes and in the second year, around 20 lakh boxes in the state.”
Referring to the triple-play boxes, he said, “The triple-play boxes are still in research and development stage, so we have decided to provide two separate boxes to fulfil the promise of providing internet, cable tv and phone connectivity.” According to sources, around 12,000 local cable operators have signed up with APSFL to be part of the project to provide internet and cable connectivity to each household in the state.
However, a member of the Seemandhra Cable Operators Association said, “Initially, the price was said to be around Rs 2,500 and later revised to Rs 2,800 per box. But, now the two boxes are expected to cost around Rs 4,200. The revenue sharing negotiation meeting between cable operators and APSFL is yet to take place.”
He said, “If the price is set at Rs 4,200, a lot of people will not be looking at APSFL as an option as it exceeds the price expectation of a common consumer. Also, the APSFL is yet to tell us who will provide service for the equipment that is supplied to us. There are a lot of details that have to be worked out and unless the boxes are provided at a cheaper rate, it won’t work out in the market due to economic reasons.”
Furthermore, he said, “The Rs 149 tariff is for basic package and with no pay channels, whereas the phone connectivity will be only between people who are using the APSFL network.”