Thanks to the rapid roll-out of fiber broadband services by partner Reliance Jio, telecom player HFCL Ltd has started producing residential broadband-oriented fiber cables at a new facility in Hyderabad.
HFCL’s new optical fiber plant in Hyderabad came online in January this year, and on Wednesday, the plant started making smaller size optical cable that can be used for providing high-speed broadband to homes.
With this, said HFCL, it has become India’s largest producer of such residential-use optical fiber cable, and can produce 6 lakh km of such cable per year.
A large chunk of the production is expected to be utilized by HFCL itself, as it is also the primary contractor for supplying fiber to Reliance Jio’s rapidly expanding fiber-to-the-home service.
Besides Jio, the biggest consumer of FTTH cable — which tends to have a tough outer covering making them suitable to be strung overhead from pole to pole — are local cable operators, who are busy replacing their copper cables with fiber optic pipes. This demand is met by a mix of domestic as well as imported cables.
ACCELERATING ROLL OUT
After starting slow by adding 20,000 to 40,000 users per month, Reliance Jio is now adding over 2.5 lakh connections per month, making it the fastest growing wired broadband service anywhere in the world.
HFCL, whose ties with Jio is more than a decade long, invested Rs 260 crores in Hyderabad plant, which was commissioned earlier this year. The company said it invested another Rs 40 cr to enable the plant to manufacture FTTH cables.
HFCL said it plans to start manufacturing “certain newer type of cables” for global applications at the plant. HFCL also supplies trunk fiber cables to Jio.
Jio and HFCL’s promoter group have had close ties for long.
In 2010, HFCL promoter Mahendra Nahata’s son, Anant Nahata, bid and won 4G spectrum across India for a whopping Rs 12,848 cr through his company Infotel Broadband.
Within days, Infotel was acquired by Reliance Group, and was later renamed as Reliance Jio Infocomm, which is today India’s biggest telecom provider. HFCL promoter Mahendra Nahata continues to be a board member of Reliance Jio.
India is also home to one of the world’s largest optic fiber cable manufacturers, Sterlite Technologies Ltd.