The Indian Techonomist

(C) Copyright 1995 Deus X Machina, All rights reserved

India's overseas communications monopoly tries the Internet


Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited is India's public sector monopoly for international communications. Despite the on-going privatisation of telecom and broadcasting, VSNL's monopoly has been extended for 10 years by the government.

Recently, VSNL, whose previous forays into datacom have not been highly regarded by customers, leaked that it was going to start the country's first Internet provider for the public. So far, access to the Net has been for the limited category of users permitted to use the government's networks.

In late July 1995, VSNL appears to have got beyond some of the confusions in its earlier, premature announcement. But, as reported in a bulletin on August 1, and analysed in more detail in the sample July 1995 issue of The Indian Techonomist, VSNL's Internet experiment is far from a certain success.

The next issue of The Indian Techonomist will include an report on this monopoly's place in an India with deregulated telecom and broadcasting, with an interview with the Chairman, B K Syngal.

In Indian Rupees. One US Dollar is approximately 31.50 Indian Rupees. Rates could change when the service is finally announced.
User category   |Dial-up|        Leased line            |
                |9.6kbps|9.6kbps |  64kbps  |  128kbps  |
Professionals   |  5,000|   --   |    --    |    ---    |
Non-Commercial  | 15,000| 240,000|   600,000| 1,000,000 |
Commercial      | 25,000| 600,000| 1,500,000| 2,500,000 |
Exporters       | 20,000| 480,000| 1,200,000| 2,000,000 |
Service Provider|   --  | 720,000| 1,800,000| 3,000,000 |

Notes: All prices are flat annual rates. Professionals only get shell accounts, the others can choose SLIP or PPP. Dial up users have a total of 250 hours to use up in a year, and 512 kb disk space. Leased line rates only include what VSNL charges for bandwidth - the physical link will have to be paid for to the telecom provider - the DoT. These costs are typically 10% of VSNL's corporate rates, for distances up to 50 kilometres (30 miles).

None of the terms are really defined - professionals are individuals. Exporters are 100% Export Oriented Units or software exporters registered for tax concessions, and are often located in special zones with snazzy high speed Internet connections at very low rates, so they may not be interested in VSNL services. Non-commercial are presumably registered not-for-profit organisations. Commercial are other companies, or individuals who want SLIP accounts. Service providers are e-mail or Internet service providers. The latter don't exist, thanks to restrictions on datacom. VSNL claims it is still committed to providing shell accounts to 'students' at Rs 500 for 250 hours, later this year.


(C) Copyright 1995 Deus X Machina, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

This article may be redistributed in electronic form only, provided that the article and this notice remain intact. This article may not under any circumstances be redistributed or resold in any non-electronic form, or for compensation of any kind, without prior written permission from Rishab Aiyer Ghosh (

This article is from the Indian Techonomist (, the newsletter on India's information industry. Annual subscription (monthly print edition plus e- mail bulletins) is for US$ 595 or equivalent. For information, contact Rishab Ghosh by e-mail at, call +91 11 2454717 or post to A4/204 Ekta Apts, 9 I.P. Extn, New Delhi 110017, INDIA.

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