by September 4, 2000 0 comments
Year Winner
2000 VSNL
1999 VSNL

When we introduced this category last year, there were just a
handful of ISPs operational–less than 15. The ISP market had just been thrown
open for private players. This year, when we did our first nation-wide ISP
shootout in June, we found about 72 operational ISPs. And many more have started
off since then.

Internet Service Providers

User’s Choice Club  UPI
VSNL 100
Satyam 36
Dishnet 12
Caltiger 7

The winner in this category last year was VSNL. Not a
surprise since VSNL had been the only player till then. This year too, VSNL tops
the charts. What’s remarkable is that despite the huge number of ISPs, none
has been able to make much of a dent in VSNL’s position among users. Satyam,
last year’s runner up, did better its points from 24 to 36. MTNL crashed out
from the User’s Choice Club to be replaced by ETH Dishnet, and Caltiger
managed to make an entry too. The ISP that enjoys the maximum current usage is
also VSNL, followed by Satyam.

Quality is the main criterion that users cited for choosing
an ISP. This was true all over India and among all segments–households and
corporate. The corporate segment also considers support and price before they
decide on their ISP. Price is no more a big consideration for households because
most ISPs have slashed their dial-up account rates. Some of them also let you
get an account for free.

A lot of heavy advertising and marketing activity has been
happening in the ISP segment. Accounts are now not just bundled with home PCs,
but with every deal with almost every product, every portal on the Net. Why,
even magazines have free accounts bundled now. There’s a tight fight for
market share. But bandwidth still remains a crucial factor for the success of
these ISPs. With private gateways opening up now, we can expect to see a decline
in our bandwidth troubles.

Cable-based ISPs also made an entrance last year, but things
haven’t moved much in that sector. Now with companies going the convergence
way, this market is about to heat up. New Web appliances, with bundled Internet
accounts are also making their way into Indian homes. We can look forward to
quite a different account of this tale next year.

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