The Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL), which controls Internet gateway in India, announced a massive reduction in tariffs for Internet leased lines and international private leased circuits (IPCL). The new rates are more than 70 percent lower. This drastic reduction in tariffs is in line with the falling international prices of optical fiber cable capacity. The rates of the leased lines at the fiber heads (Mumbai and Kochi) have been reduced sharply. The rates for 2-mbps Internet leased line have been slashed by 70 percent to Rs 1.25 million from Rs 4.18 million earlier. The corresponding rates for 2-mbps international private leased circuits link will now be Rs 4.0 million or a reduction of 76 percent from the previous cost of Rs 16.36 million on optical fibre cable to the US. The minimum period of commitment for the leased lines will be one year.
VSNL is also offering commitment discount for customers. For international private leased circuits, the discount has been raised from 10 percent on two-year commitment to 25 percent discount on five-year commitment. For the Internet leased lines, the discount is five percent for two years, rising to 20 percent on five years’ commitment.
The company is also giving an IRU price for high-speed (155 Mbps and above) leased lines. As per the scheme, a customer can buy a high-speed link for the life of the cable (15-20 years) with a lump sum payment. VSNL has also streamlined anomalies in tariffs. Under the present structure a single, unified tariff is applicable worldwide compared to different rates for European and American sub-continents in the past.
For the ordinary Internet user, the company announced reduction in the access charges. In the scheme announced in July the rates were 50 percent lower. In addition, VSNL has announced a free night package scheme offering free Internet access for customers between 11:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on working days and for the whole day on Sundays. The new rates are applicable to both TCP/IP dial-up as well as for ISDN accounts. The company also has ‘Crackblok facility’ – a security feature for customers to enable access only from specified telephone numbers. This would prevent fraudulent use of accounts as well as provide more security for new applications like e-banking and share trading.