VSNL: India’s First Fulfleged ISP

August 14, 1995: India’s overseas communications monopoly, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) today launched India’s first full Internet service for public access. The Gateway Internet Access Service (GIAS) was launched one week after the deadline Chairman and Managing Director B K Syngal had given The Indian Techonomist, but before India’s August 15th Independence Day, a favourite for public-sector inaugurations.

VSNL stated that while the GIAS will be available immediately from Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta and Madras, it will be directly connected to Pune and Bangalore “shortly”. Users from other locations can connect through the Department of Telecommunications’ I-NET, an X.25 network accessed through leased lines or at a concessional dial-up rate from almost anywhere.

The connection between VSNL and MCI in the US starts with “multiple 64kbps” links, which will “grow into T1 or E1 by the end of the year.”

The pricing structure and other information is the same as previously believed – $160 for 250 hours for individuals (shell accounts); about $500 for institutional dial-up SLIP/PPP accounts; much more for leased lines, and a ridiculous $16 for 250 hours for “students”, to be made available later this year.

The VSNL will, however, “work closely” with the telecom monopoly to provide leased lines to customers, who would normally have to wage a slow war to get them within a reasonable time.

The Techonomist received a press release late in the night. A first reaction to the actual services will only be possible after the 15th, a statutory holiday.

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