India's sole ISP stops taking new subscribers

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Videsh Sanchar Nigam, India's sole Internet service provider, has temporarily stopped accepting new subscribers because its telecoms system cannot cope.

A paucity of telephone lines to enable Net surfers access to the Internet has forced Bombay-based Videsh Sanchar to halt new subscriptions for its Gateway Internet Access Services. The Internet provider, which started the service in August 1995, has garnered an estimated 28,000 to 30,000 subscribers.

Most Net users are frustrated by jammed telephone lines, which prevent them from dialing-up with the Net access provider and using anything near the 500 hours allotted to each subscriber.

As part of the new measures to rationalize its service, Videsh Sanchar will introduce a new system April onwards, pending government approval: a yearly maintenance fee of $167, a returnable security deposit of $140 and an hourly charge of 84 cents, all for the graphics account. The same account currently costs $460 for 500 hours usage or one year, whichever comes first.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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