| "If oil has fuelled
the global economy for the last twenty years, Bandwidth
will do so for the next ten years…," asserts USA-based
Gururaj Deshpande, Chairman of Sycamore Networks,
while describing the importance of the bandwidth in the
does Bandwidth stand for in communication networking?
Bandwidth is the measure of the speed of communication
on the Internet. The more the Bandwidth, the speedier
will be the access, just as the greater the pipe size,
the more the water flow! In this case, the more the Bandwidth
or Broadband, the faster the data flow.
If data flow is slow, it results in awful dial-ups and
slow access to the Internet. Accessibility is slow in
India as compared to other countries like USA,
UK, Japan and China. The main reason behind
this is the lesser Bandwidth that Indian Internet Service
Providers (ISPs) have. Here in India, the data flow is
just 325 megabits per second (mbps) in contrast to 500
gega bits per second (gbps) in USA, followed by UK and
Japan, which offer 160 and 120 gbps respectively.
What might be the reason for India to lag behind those
net-savvy nations in this regard? Apart from infrastructure,
the absence of a national body to support Internet's Broadband
access is also the reason. At present, Videsh Sanchar
Nigam Limited [VSNL] is the only body acting on
this. Seeing VSNL's inability to cater to the huge Bandwidth
requirement of the Indian ISPs, the government has allowed
ISPs to import Bandwidth. According to Sukaran Singh
of NetMedia India, the existing bandwidth availability
is just one hundredth of the overall requirement. He estimates
that even a small company today needs 2 to 4 mbps.
How can ISPs serve subscribers better by having greater
Bandwidth? With Broadband, subscribers can watch video,
film clips and even TV programmes! All this is in addition
to downloading audio and video data. Broadband helps a
subscriber to go shopping online and even helps in establishing
a link between a patient and the doctor who is miles away!
In the area of video conferencing and online education,
Broadband is the future.
With the meagre availability of bandwidth, India is under-equipped
to compete with global giants. Dewang Mehta, President
of the National Association of Software and Services
Companies (NASSCOM), worries that India may lose 30%
of its Software exports. He adds that being good at the
network management, India may not be able to back global
e-commerce because of lesser bandwidth.
His words are evident when potential investors are turning
India down to move on to Southeast Asia, which provides
unlimited Bandwidth. According to Mehta, many of the Indian
websites are being hosted from America with its higher
Broadband availability. If the government wants to avoid
this flow of sites (which amounts to loss of revenue),
it has to act on this. As per the NASSCOM survey, India's
requirement is 5 gbps, with less than ten lakh Internet
connections at present. But the survey also projects that
requirements would go up to 10 gbps by the end of 2000.
Who is taking care of this need? VSNL is buying 155 mbps
from FLAG [Fibre-optic Link Across the Globe].
The government has set up a Bandwidth Committee to find
the means of getting higher Bandwidth. Apart from these
two, many private players like Reliance Group,
with its Rs 500 crore optical fibre cable [OFC]
network project and BPL, with its Rs 500 crore
OFC project, are among many companies which are going
to build their Internet base with Broadband in the future.