Broadband growth jumps 4x on Covid

The pandemic has given the fixed-line broadband industry a boost as ‘everything from home’ and mobile data limitations makes people opt for reliability and speed offered by such internet connections.

Data from telecom regulator Trai shows that the number of new wired broadband connections grew 2% on average every month since July 2020, compared to just 0.5% before the pandemic. As of March 2021, there were 22.8 million wired broadband connections in India and growth rate was about 2.2%.

Analysts said in a hybrid work future, wired internet connections are going to be on a par with basic utility services. An average urban household has 5-6 smart devices running concurrently making fixed broadband essential, they said. Apart from metro cities, broadband providers have all also made inroads into tier-2 locations like Jaipur, Varanasi, Vijayawada, Mangalore and Coimbatore.

Airtel Xstream Fiber’s customer base grew 27% during fiscal year 2021 to cross three-million mark, the company said. Airtel’s fibre connection is available in over 200 cities.

Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani noted in the company’s AGM last week that despite the pace of deployment slowing due to the lockdowns, JioFiber acquired more than two million new premises last year, and data consumption on the network has grown to more than 3.5 times compared to a year ago. However, industry estimates peg the teledensity of wired broadband in India at only 1.5% compared to Japan (50%), China (14%) and the US (30%).

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