WITH N. PARAMESHWARAN
Parameshwaran Senior General Manager VSNL
(Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited) joined in 1963 as a technical assistant,
when it was still the Government-run Overseas Communication Service
(OCS). In 1986, OCS became VSNL. Today, Parameshwaran brings experience
in technical planning, research and development, training, management,
and operations to his overall responsibility for the southern region
He speaks to www.chennaibest.com about how VSNL is holding
its own, despite stiff competition.
With the new economies taking centre-stage,
what are the challenges faced by VSNL?
As you know, VSNL has a monopoly status till 2002. In 1995, we started
the internet services. For sometime it was a monopoly, but subsequently
it was privatised some two years back. Many private companies come
to VSNL for capacities. Our infrastructure is huge. We have no problems
from the technical angle and commercially also we are offering competitive
packages. We are ready to face any competition. Competition only adds
to our strength and improves our efficiency.
With Sun TV having its own Earth station and
others to follow, will VSNL be playing a smaller role now in Satellite
TV programme uplink and transmission?
Network is a major player. They have got 4 channels, so they can
afford to have their own earth-station. But players who have only
one channel will find it viable to go for VSNL. VSNL has Jaya TV,
Vijay TV, Asianet and Kairali under its belt. VSNL has
its earth station in Ambattur. Vijay TV and Jaya TV have their studios
here in these premises (Swami Sivananda Salai). Asianet has it studio
TV Channels have been upgrading their Programme
transmission quality from U-matic tapes to Beta tapes and now to Digi-Beta
tapes. Is there a similar improvement happening in the quality of
the uplink band at VSNL?
VSNL follows the Consultative Committee for International Telegraphy
and Telephony (CCITT), which is an international telecom organisation.
From our end we ensure international quality. We have to follow the
international norms. We are going to get new digital channels shortly.
Right now it is analog. Once the digital channels come in, bandwidth
requirement will be less. It will become cost effective. Most cable
operstors are however working on analog. Once all the broadcasters
go in for digital channels, the cable operators will have to follow
When will the luxury of Video-conferencing become
Video-conferencing is a useful tool, but people are avoiding it. Its
just resistance to change. It will take time to move away from the
traditional methods of conducting business. Consider the cost involved
in organising a huge meeting, gathering delegates from all parts of
the world, providing accommodation for all of them. If you compare
the costs, you will find that video conferencing is really cost effective.
Right now only big companies have their own dedicated system. But
it will grow with the growth of the internet.
How is VSNL responding to private ISP entrants
in the market? Will the Price wars among ISPs ease?
have our own tariff structure, which is quite competitive. We provide
good quality service. We are not unduly worried about the other entrants.
It is for the users to choose. As I said earlier, competition only
adds to our strength. If we were the only service providers, people
will not know whether we are giving good quality or not. With competition,
people are beginning to compare and have more choices, thus making
us more competitive.
There seems that eternal complaint about download
time. Is there any plausible explanation for this? Do you see the
situation improving in the future?
Speed is low during peak time, as it is a shared network. What we
use here is a packet-switched network. Its just like a road. There
is more traffic at a particular time of the day. We can't go on creating
capacity forever. There has to be a realistic estimation to expand
infrastructure. If you want speed, you have to pay for it. That's
where the leased line comes in. Most big Companies have dedicated
leased lines. Right now, I agree that bandwidth is not sufficient.
We are working towards rectifying it.
will you advise the Internet user, as to assessing what kind of Account
to go in for?
Before going in for a particular account, users have to assess their
needs. For example, for individual users it is free during the nights.
And hardly any Corporate will be using the net during night-time.
What potential do you see for the use of ISDN?
ISDN is very useful as it can be used for telephone, fax, video-conferencing,
data-transfer and internet.
With so many Indian Companies doing back-end
jobs for foreign companies, is VSNL geared up for the data-transfer
requirements that will present itself?
Yes, big Companies are using point-to-point, leased lines for this
purpose and VSNL is geared for it. There are many such Companies in
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Author :Anuradha Sriraman
Pictures : Leslee Lazar