The GigaFiber project is the next big thing for Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of the Reliance group, as he grows his pet Jio telecom project into a vertical business of access, entertainment, and commerce that is unprecedented in India.These will be the five defining features of Reliance Jio’s GigaFiber wired broadband network, the rollout of which will begin on August 15, 2018.
In two years, GigaFiber aims to reach 50 million users across 1,100 cities, the pricing starts at Rs 200 a month. Earlier this month, Ambani had said at the Reliance annual general meeting, “Fixed-line broadband offers hundreds of megabits, even gigabits per second of data speeds.” The anchor device for GigaFiber will be set-top boxes and it will be called as GigaTV box, which will pipe to ultra HD television to Indian homes. The boxes are being tested at the homes of a few thousand Reliance employees.
A source close to the development said that the GigaFiber users will pay a security deposit of Rs 4,500 to install a Wi-Fi router and set-top box. There were suggestions internally of capping monthly charges at Rs 500. The sources further added, “The monthly charges of Rs 500 is too much for launch as it might be somewhere around Rs 200-300.”
The research arm of the investment bank Credit Suisse has called the GigaTV box a “serious competition” to satellite-based direct to home (DTH) companies such as Tata Sky, which has over 17 million customers. Share prices of cable TV companies Hathway Cable & Datacom, Den Networks, and Siti Networks have shed as much as 15% value on July 5 in this GigaFiber project, the day Ambani announced it.
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix (the world’s largest paid online video platform), has said that the company’s next 100 million customers will come from India as it is a big beneficiary of GigaFiber. In one stroke, Netflix can be accessed by 50 million users in India, which is the second-largest English speaking country in the world.
Jio and Netflix are already forging a partnership that will go beyond offering Netflix to Jio mobile users. “Netflix and other OTT platforms that are there on Jio will also be there on the set-top boxes”.