Senior General Manager VSNL (Videsh Sanchar
joined in 1963 as a technical assistant, when
it was still the Government-run Overseas Communication Service
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 of VSNL.
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
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
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 at Ambattur.
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 suit.
When will the luxury of Video-conferencing
become a utility?
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
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 our account.
Click here for a profile on VSNL