Net Neutrality

After disrupting the mobile internet segment, India’s largest internet service provider Reliance Jio is set to enter broadband internet business. The Jio GigaFiber has announced that they may offer internet speeds of up to 1 GBPS in 1100 cities at reasonable prices. In its welcome offer, Jio Gigafiber offers 100 MBPS free internet for 3 months upon submitting Rs 4500 refundable deposit for the high-speed router and Home Hub.

Reliance Jio is projecting itself as Smart Home appliance provider as it would not just offer high-speed broadband but also Set Top Box with 4K capabilities and many more smart appliances. Media reports suggested that local cable operators were reluctant with proposition with Reliance Jio offers. With the acquisition of Hathway Cables and Den Networks, we can predict that a PAN India service launch of Reliance Jio would be possible by 2019.

Reliance Industries Limited in its press release announced the strategic investment of RIL in Hathway and Den to accelerate Jio GigaFiber service.

  • A primary investment of Rs. 2,045 crore through a preferential issue under SEBI regulations and secondary purchase of Rs. 245 crore from the existing promoters for a 66% stake in Den Networks.
  • Primary investment of Rs. 2,940 crore through a preferential issue under SEBI regulations for a 51.3% stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited (“Hathway”) Limited.

These strategic investments are in furtherance of Reliance’s mission of connecting everyone and everything, everywhere – always at the highest quality and the most affordable price and transforming India’s digital landscape. After having taken India to the top position in the mobile broadband space, Reliance is now committed to taking India from a global rank of 135th to among the top-3 countries in the world on wireline digital connectivity. RIL believes that these investments and partnerships will create a win-win outcome for the Local Cable Operators, Consumers, Content providers and overall eco-system.

With high-speed internet linked with set top box, consumers will be able to watch 4K channels without paying extra cost as Jio plans to charge only for Internet. This shift would also enrich channels to shift to Full HD stream from current SDTV service.

Jio shall bring JioGigaFiber to more than 50 million homes across 1,100 Indian cities and towns, in the shortest possible time. JioGigaFiber will offer:

  • Ultra High Definition Entertainment on large screen TVs.
  • Multi-Party Video Conferencing from the comfort of everyone’s living room.
  • Artificial Intelligence, in the form of voice-activated virtual assistants, who obey
    every command of the consumer
  • Virtual Reality Gaming and Digital Shopping in a magical universe of immersive
    experiences
  • Smart-Home Solutions, where hundreds of devices like security cameras, home
    appliances, even lights and switches, can be securely controlled by their owners,
    from both inside and outside their homes
  • Fixed Mobile Convergence, to offer end-to-end services on an integrated network.

Telecom analyst Jio Gigafiber to be competitively priced. For massive reach, RIL may offer 1GBPS speed internet from Rs 500 per month along with 100 TV channels. Plans are not out yet.

RIL is being advised by JM Financial Limited, Citigroup Global Markets, Khaitan & Co, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB Partners and EY LLP on this transaction.

– Chaitanya Kulkarni.

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