Leading a revolution

Print edition : April 23, 2004

BSNL Chairman and Managing Director V.P. Sinha conducts a video-conference between Bangalore and Chennai in the presence of Som Mittal, managing director, Digital Global Soft Ltd., left, and K. Padmanabhan, CGM (Telecom), Karnataka Circle. - G.R.N. SOMASHEKAR

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. can rightly claim to be leading India's information revolution and is expected to play a stellar role in the future as well.

ON October 1, 2000, the Department of Telecom Operations, Government of India, became a corporation and was christened Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Today, BSNL is the number one telecommunications company and the largest public sector undertaking in the country, with an authorised share capital of $3,600 million and net worth of $13.85 billion. It has a network of over 45 million lines covering 5,000 towns with over 35 million telephone connections. With the latest digital switching technology and an extensive transmission network, including synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) systems up to 2.5 gbps, dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems up to 80 gbps, web telephony, direct Internet access systems (DIAS), virtual private networks (VPN), broadband and more than 400,000 data customers, BSNL is geared to play a stellar role in the information revolution in the country.

Its responsibilities include the improvement of the quality of telecom services, the expansion of the telecom network, the introduction of new telecom services in all villages and increasing customer confidence. BSNL has managed to shoulder these responsibilities deftly.

A WLL phone comes in handy at the Pushkar ghat in Bhadrachalam.-K. RAMESH BABU

Today, with a line capacity of over 45 million, a nationwide network management and surveillance system (NMSS) to control telecom traffic and over 4,00,000 route kilometres of optical fibre cable (OFC) network, and with 99.9 per cent of its exchanges being digital, BSNL is a name to reckon with in the world of telecommunications. Like its customer base, BSNL's financial and asset bases too are vast and strong. Consider these figures:

The telephone infrastructure alone is worth about Rs.1,00,000 crores ($21.2 billion) and the turnover is Rs.25,000 crores ($5.2 billion). Add to this BSNL's nationwide coverage and reach and comprehensive range of telecom services.

A CellOne network tower in Chennai.-VINO JOHN

The turnover of the company for the year 2001-02 was Rs.24,299.8 crores, which on an annualised basis implies a 5 per cent growth over the previous year. This growth took place in spite of a 62 per cent reduction in long-distance tariff during the last quarter of the year. The profit after tax was at a comfortable level of Rs.6,312 crores.

In terms of extension of coverage, the percentage growth of telephone lines during that year (53 lakhs) was the highest ever in the history of telecommunication in the country. Another remarkable achievement was that this phenomenal growth was financed solely through the internal resources of the company, without having to resort to any market borrowing. After making adequate provision for a higher wage bill for the employees absorbed from the erstwhile Department of Telecom Services, the wage bill as a percentage of the turnover is still at a manageable level of 15.84. The net asset value has risen to Rs.58,922 crores. The capital outlay for the expansion and development of rural telephony was Rs.7,946 crores, which is approximately 50 per cent of the total capital expenditure of the company. The debt equity ratio also improved from that of the previous year, from 0.25 to 0.20. The strong fundamentals of the company will enable it to grow from strength to strength. The company plans to expand further its value-added services by introducing new technologies. CellOne, its cellular service, is the biggest in India and covers the entire country.

THE formation of BSNL was one of the landmark events in the history of telecommunications in India. Today, it has an awesome task of improving the quality of telecom services, expanding the telecom network, taking telecom services to all villages and instilling confidence in its customers.

A mobile tele shop in Tamil Nadu.-S. JAMES

Driven by the best of telecom technology from chosen global leaders, BSNL connects every part of the nation to different corners of the globe. "Connecting India", BSNL's slogan, is no empty claim. The company says it is communicating hopes, happiness, aspirations, dreams and much more.

Here is an overview of the world class services offered by BSNL:

Basic telephone services: The plain old countrywide telephone service through 32,000 electronic exchanges and the digitalised Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), with a host of Phone Plus value additions.

Internet: Accessing the global network of networks, the countrywide Internet services of BSNL under the brand name Sanchar Net, includes Internet dial-up/leased access service for web browsing and e-mail applications. An Internet telephony service was launched under the brand name Webfone recently. ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network Service) of BSNL utilises a unique digital network providing high-speed and high-quality voice, data and image transfer over the same line. It can also facilitate both desktop video and high-quality video conferencing. Intelligent Network Service (In Service) offers value-added services, such as Free Phone Service (FPH), India Telephone Card (pre-paid card) Account Card Calling (ACC), VPN, tele-voting Premium Rate Service (PRM), Universal Access Number (UAN) and more.

An advertisement on the move.-T.A. HAFEEZ

I-Net: India's x.25 based packet Switched Public Data Network is operational in 104 cities of the country.

Leased lines and datacom: BSNL provides leased lines for voice and data communication for various applications on a point-to-point basis. It offers a choice of high-, medium- and low-speed leased data circuits as well as dial-up lines. Bandwidth is available on demand in most cities. Managed Leased Line Network (MLLN) offers flexibility of providing circuits with speeds of nx64 kbps up to 2 mbps, useful for Internet-leased lines and International Principle Leased Circuits (IPLCs).

Countrywide cellular service, pre-paid card: BSNL's project of GSM cellular mobile service envisages a customer base of over four million and supports applications like voice mail, e-mail, short message service (SMS), cell broadcast service, international roaming, IN Services like pre-paid card, premium rate, free phone, UAN, split charging and VPN.

A Chennai Telephones hoarding.-BIJOY GHOSH

Wireless in Local Loop: This is a communication system that connects customers to the PSTN using radio frequency signals as a substitute for conventional wires for all or part of the connection between the subscribers and the telephone exchange.

Countrywide induction of WLL is under way for areas that are non-feasible for the normal network. It will help relieve congestion in the normal cable/wire-based network in urban areas, connecting the remote and scattered rural areas and limited mobility without any airtime charge.

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