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Reliance's Broadband Bharat ready to roll

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MUMBAI: "If you want to dream, dare to dream big." Thus Reliance Industries' chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani, paraphrasing his father Dhirubhai, described the plans he had for the rollout of Reliance Infocomm's broadband initiative.

Called Broadband Bharat, it is almost ready to roll out across 1,100 towns and cities and covers a total of 80,000 kms of optic fibre cable. The only remaining link in the chain is the last mile, that is the customer. Speaking earlier in another session, Reliance Infocomm president Prakash Bajpai had said that 2,00,000 buildings would be connected within the next 

few weeks.

This is the scale that Reliance has envisioned. It has also covered the international gateway by the recent acquisition of the US based Flag Telecom, said Ambani, in his keynote address at the valedictory session of Ficci Frames 2004 on Wednesday. This will link up Reliance's national network to four continents through 75,000 kms of under sea cable.

"Digital technology will become as ubiquitous as electricity," Ambani said, giving an idea of the scale of the project. Ambani stressed that the broadband project would not eliminate television, movies or any of the present entertainment platforms but would only enhance the media experience. The future, according to Ambani, is interactive television, electronic newspapers, music delivery. The list goes on.

The potential is huge, said Ambani, who sees the revenues from the Indian media and entertainment industry alone growing from $ two billion in aggregate terms to $ 200 billion in the next 20 years. "I believe India is the land of a billion opportunities," just about sums up Ambani's vision for Reliance's Broadband Bharat.

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