“Uid has provided the first building block in the form of a strong database”

What was your vision when you founded Tulip?

When we founded the organisation, the only competition of data connectivity was with BSNL. At that time data connectivity was confined to only few cities. In 1999, after seeing a huge potential in the wireless business, Tulip started its  operations in this field. We started covering the whole country with wireless  connectivity. We were looking for a big order and we got one from a bank. In  1999, we were able to connect a bank across multiple states through wireless  technology. This became the first and one of our biggest successes. We quickly  captured the low bandwidth market.

With India’s economic growth, every Indian is going to prosper. Today, Indians  are at par with the Americans. India has suddenly become popular because of improved governance. We’ll be increasing market share in data  services and looking at international long distance, corporate Internet and  national long distance markets. Over the last two years, the wholesale market  has changed; companies like AT&T, Orange and even Tulip have got  international licenses.

What are the major policy hurdles?

The government also realises that they have to ensure the up liftment of every  person. They have to provide the services of the last man. Only challenge is  telecommunication i.e. data connectivity. Government needs infrastructure to  deliver services. This infrastructure can be in the form of road, water or data  connectivity. Data connectivity is fundamental infrastructure for delivering  services, today.

Government already has preferences; it creates certain degree of uncertainty.  There is a need of some clarity on this policy. There is lack of clarity in  government policies in wireless network. There should be no subsidy for  anybody. The telecom companies have already set up their networks. There is no need to create individual networks.

With the help of  UID, you have a database; you will have the first building block.  We can be way head for developing world.

What type of opportunities do you see in enterprise data services space in India?

There are enterprise networks and retail networks. We are enterprise network.  We have a unique portfolio of enterprise data services ranging from MPLS VPN,  corporate internet, managed services, data center solutions, and international  connectivity. Tulip does not address the retail market. I believe, in India the enterprise data services space has tremendous opportunity and Tulip is  strategically placed to offer data services to all customers.

We could not go to  the smaller times primarily because linking copper is  becoming more and more  challenging. The government is connecting every panchayat through optical fibers.

How do you see such steps?

The government has come out with a good plan of fiber connectivity. The  government decision to connect every panchyat by fiber is a good step. The  reality is that as of today, a lot of fiber and telecom facilities are available up to  the level of most districts. But the moment they start going beyond district, that  is to block and taluka level, a lot of telecom facilities such as fiber are not  available, fiber. With our own fiber we can now offer high bandwidth data services. We have successfully laid optical fiber in various cities covering major  commercial areas. This fiber rollout has helped Tulip grab more and more customers pan-India, successfully using Tulip fiber for their data connectivity requirements.

The government is planning to roll out fiber that goes beyond the block level to  the panchayats. So our recommendation is that the government takes on  rollout of fiber from between the blocks to the panchayats, which is the big void  today and which does not make commercial sense for the current telecom companies, and thereafter make this infrastructure available to all telecom  players for rolling out of services. My suggestion is that that there should be  private participation in its implementation.

What are your views on Cloud Computing?

It is an application focus. Cloud computing, virtualisation and unified  communications are giving substantial boost to the enterprise data

“cloud computing, uc and virtualisation are sergiving  substantial boost connectivity segment”

connectivity segment. Server virtualisation is driving the adoption of the latest  data center unified fabric technologies that seamlessly merge storage and network infrastructure into a unified, highly flexible transport.

What are your future plans?

We are a premium Data Company. Our aim is to reach every village within two  years, but that depends on us to be able to pick up the orders. The point is that  we are willing to make the investments to reach out, but now it is for the government and business organisations to see whether they need services  there. If it becomes profitable, then we will go there. Last year, we had about  `2,000 crores of revenue. We should see an increase as the pattern has been of  about 20 percent and if we continue to see this kind of a growth, we should  cross about `3000 crore as we go forward in the next three years. We also  expect about `1,000 crores revenue to come from the data centre business, so  in the next three years, we should be on track for a billion dollar revenue.