Bharti Airtel, India's largest service provider, has deployed a technology it is calling V-Fiber to support growing demand for fixed-line broadband services.
Using vectoring technology, which cuts out noise interference to boost broadband speeds, the operator has this week activated the service in the Indian city of Chennai, claiming it can provide connectivity of up to 100 Mbit/s. Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) intends to extend V-Fiber to other Indian cities in coming weeks.
The deployment, which makes Airtel the first Indian operator to use vectoring, is being funded as part of the $9 billion Project Leap initiative, a program to upgrade networks that Airtel launched about a year ago.
"India is witnessing an explosive growth in data usage and a lot of in-home data consumption is happening over fixed broadband that offers consistent speeds," said Ajai Puri, the director of operations for Airtel, in a company statement. "With V-Fiber and our national optic fiber backbone, we are all set to offer a future ready network for tomorrow's digitally connected homes."
Airtel's V-Fiber effort appears to have been motivated by the recent arrival of Reliance Jio in India's 4G market. According to media reports, RJio is now testing a fiber-to-the-home service in parts of Mumbai and Pune, and could offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s with the high-speed technology.
During a recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) , RJio's parent company, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said the operator has already laid 250,000km of fiber-optic cables, covering 18,000 cities and more than 100,000 villages.
Airtel claims V-Fiber will support high-definition video streaming, heavy file downloads and uploads in a multi-device environment (over WiFi). Customers will have to upgrade their modems to experience V-Fiber speeds, however.
With government initiatives such as Digital India and the modernization of cable networks, home broadband could soon become the next battleground for the country's operators.
— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading