With its range of high-quality and innovative products for various applications and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, Aksh Optifibre is well placed to cater to the increasing demand for optical fibre cable in India.
Mr. Pramod Srivastava, CEO at Aksh Optifibre Limited, delves in on how the government has been playing an active role in bolstering the infrastructure of the optical fiber cable network and as the economic activity depends more than ever on digital infrastructure, investments in 5G network rollout will accelerate, in an exclusive interview with Wire & Cable India.
Wire & Cable India: As global data traffic grows, added demand is being put on the world’s communication networks. What challenges and opportunities does this bring for the optical fiber cable industry?
Pramod Srivastava: Global data traffic growth is led by ever-increasing demand for video streaming apart from the surge in the usage of application, messaging, audio, and other downloads. Video conferencing services e.g., Zoom, MS Team, Webex, and others have seen significant growth in data traffic in the recent situation as preference is given to video conferencing instead of meeting in person. As a consequence of the higher consumption of data, there is an ever-increasing demand for higher bandwidth, which is increasing the difference between desired data speed and available data speed across the globe. This is primarily due to the fact that fiberization levels are still fairly low and wired broadband penetration is not enough.
As more enterprise applications move to the cloud, they also demand a very low latency from the networks. This will bring a definite need of putting more optical fibre cable for the strengthening of the digital network. This would increase the demand for optical fibre cable and it will bring some relief to the optical fiber cable industry which has been under tremendous pressure due to lower demand and falling prices in the several past quarters.
Roll out of 5G in India has been significantly delayed and the efforts in this direction must start soon.
WCI: What kind of investment is India expecting in the optical fiber cable (OFC) network infrastructure in the coming years? Where do you place yourself in this growth story of optical fiber networks?
PS: While there seems to be an increase in demand for the deployment of more optical fibre cable, Private Telcos as well as BSNL need to speed up their Capex plan for strengthening their digital network to meet the ever-growing demand. We are expecting an increase in fiberization of telecom towers, fibre reaching much closure to the end consumers (FTTx), and continued need of optical fiber network requirements for utilities and other infrastructures. Also, BharatNet, the world’s largest broadband initiative undertaken by the Government of India, has to speed up the deployment of optical fibre cable to connect remaining GPs under phase 2 and roll out Phase 3 plans. The government had also recently announced its plan of connecting 600,000 villages with optical fibre within 1000 days. The private sector has also ramped up their efforts, for instance, Bharti Airtel is partnering with local cable operators to roll out last-mile connectivity in several cities. It is expected that Reliance Jio will witness a significant increase in FTTx rollout due to work from home and learn from home trends. Moreover, BSNL is also planning to roll out 4G and is planning to fiberize its towers.
With our range of high-quality and innovative products for various applications and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, we are well placed to cater to such increased demand in India. Also, our backward integration to produce optical fiber as well as another key raw material – FRP (Fibre-Reinforced Plastic) is a key to ensure faster delivery of optical fiber cables for speedy deployment of the digital network for our valued customers.
We will continue to work on bringing our innovative product solutions for the 5G network to cater to its specialized demand.
WCI: When can India expect the rollout of the 5G spectrum and what kind of demand is anticipated? What are your plans with regard to meet the impending 5G demand in the coming years?
PS: Roll out of 5G in India has been significantly delayed and the efforts in this direction must start soon. There are several actions and steps under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative to build the 5G gears in India. The 5G network needs to have a substantially increased tower fiberization as well as an increase in cell sites.
It is expected that spectrum auctions shall be conducted between mid to end of the 2021 and as the target dates of fiber deployment is set for 2022, we believe that 5G network should be available for commercial uses by 2023. We will continue to work on bringing our innovative product solutions for the 5G network to cater to its specialized demand.