Sterlite sets up $1 lakh fund for broadband tech innovation

Optical fibre maker Sterlite Technologies on Thursday announced setting up of USD 1 lakh fund for promoting innovations in the field of broadband deployment in India.

Aurangabad: Optical fibre maker Sterlite Technologies on Thursday announced setting up of USD 1 lakh fund for promoting innovations in the field of broadband deployment in India.

"People always talked about fund crunch restricting innovation. Now we have earmarked USD 100,000 as seed fund for promoting innovation in the field of deploying broadband in India. We will soon start process of inviting applications," Sterlite Technologies CEO Anand Agarwal told reporters here.

He said that Intellectual Property Right will be completely owned by developer of the technology and Sterlite will help the entity or person in commercialising it.

"The innovation can come from any part of the world but it should suit Indian conditions," he added.

He said that company is seeing focus of telecom operators now coming to data (internet) business which will push demand for optical fibre cable (OFC).

"Reliance Jio entry into telecom business is serving as catalyst for demand of OFC. We last month achieved 20 million fibre kilometer production. Now we are going to increase our cable production in Silvassa plant to 15 million km from 8 million kilometer. We will invest Rs 150 crore in ramping up our capacity by March 2016," Agarwal said.

Sterlite is also upgrading speed of broadband data transmission capacity through OFC from 100 gigabit per second to 20 terabit per second.

"We have achieved data transmission speed of 20 terabit per second but electronic equipment are not available in market to transmit this high speed. In India we have deployed OFC that deliver 100 gigabit per second in backend network which is commercially viable and customer gets up to 100 megabit per second at home," he said.

An user of 100 mbps broadband connection can download a video equivalent to a bollywood film in about 10 seconds. A gigabit speed is about 1000 times more than megabit and a terabit is 1000 times more than a gigabit.

Agarwal said that majority of Indian customers at present get half mbps (512 Kbps) broadband speed which is not actual broadband and Sterlite has proposed to Telecom regulatory Authority of India that government should increase it to 10 mbps.

"Dr (APJ) Abdul Kalam said 10 years back that minimum broadband speed that should reach homes should be 20 mbps. If not 20 mbps, it should be at least half of it," Agarwal said.

As per Indian rules, minimum broadband speed should be half mbps.

The company this month reported over four-fold jump in stand alone profit after tax at Rs 23.06 crore in the quarter ended December 31, 2014 on account of high demand for its products from various telecom and power infrastructure projects.

Sterlite's order book includes Rs 2,300-crore worth projects from telecom sector and Rs 2,400 crore from power sector.

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