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Rest of TN has better broadband quality than Chennai

CHENNAI: Broadband quality of service offered by fixed wireline operators in non-metro areas of TamilNadu is three times better than in the metro circles of Chennai and Bangalore, a study conducted by IIT-Madras has shown. "This means that the existing infrastructure in the rest of TN (RoTN) circle can accommodate three times the number of broadbandconnections that they presently serve," said Prof Timothy A Gonsalves, IIT-M. 

TeNeT - Telecommunications and computer Netwroks group of IIT-M, has conducted tests on broadband quality of service in Chennai and RoTN circles as part of a project by Asian telecom policy thinktank LIRNEasia. The study which focuses mainly on metros, spilled over to non-metro areas in Tamil Nadu, with the surprising result that broadband speeds in RoTN are nearly three times the advertised speeds. 

"In India telecom regulation specifies that only minimum speeds can be advertised, as opposed to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka where it is possible for internet service providers (ISPs) to advertise maximum speeds," Prof Gonsalves said. Therefore a comparitive graph shows that India has the least deviation of delivered speeds from promised speeds among south Asian countries. "This also means that speeds in Chennai or Bangalore are equal to the advertised speeds, which suffices for common internet usage." 

However, RoTN delivers three times the advertised speeds for national as well as global servers, that is for websites hosted in India as well as internationally. "The tests have been carried out at various timings during the day, on different days of the week, thereby eliminating any speed discrepancies based on time," Prof Gonsalves said. "This just indicates that there is upto three times extra capacity in the installed broadband infrastructure in RoTN." 

In other words, the existing infrastructure can accommodate thrice as many current subscribers in the circle, contrary to popular perception that poor broadband penetration in non-metros is owing to lack of economic viability for building infrastructure. A spokesperson from BSNL, the major ISP in Chennai and TN, said, "We have the capacity to double our broadband subscriber base in TN now. But, the difficulty in connecting them lies in their location." 

The company uses connectors which house 16, 32, 64, 128 or 512 ports depending on the number of subscribers in the area. "While we may have excess capacity left in a 32 or a 128 port connector, it may not be possible to accommodate a new subscriber in it because of the long distance between his location and that of the connector. So, we end up installing a new connector." 

Spokesperson for Airtel, which has 50,000 subscribers in RoTN and 1.5 lakh in Chennai, said, "The reason for higher speeds in RoTn is definitely under utilization of capacity." 
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(All above speeds are for broadband connections advertised for speeds of 256 kbps)

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