The anticipation for Reliance Jio's 100Mbps FTTH broadband, Jio GigaFiber, continues to grow among subscribers, but there's no word on when exactly the high-speed internet service will arrive for everyone. Reliance Jio has been testing Jio GigaFiber with a limited number of users in select cities for almost a year now, and it now appears the testing could go on longer.
Jio GigaFiber broadband rollout was initially expected to happen around Diwali last year, but that never happened citing some connectivity issues. Later, the commercial rollout was expected to begin in March this year, but it appears those reports might also not be true.
According to the latest reports, Jio GigaFiber might be experiencing some issues that may result in further delay of a formal launch. The company had planned to go live with 1,100 towns in the first phase of GigaFiber's commercial rollout, but there seems to be some problem with last mile connectivity to small towns contributing towards the delay.
The reports suggest Reliance Jio is currently at a phase called "Area Ready for Sale" rollout, where Jio executives reach out to Multiple Dwelling Unit (MDU) like high-rise societies with a proposal to try out Jio GigaFiber and then approach Single Dwelling Unit (SDU) like individual homes with the service.
At this pace, customers waiting for Jio GigaFiber still have a couple of months at hand before the commercial rollout commences. The best guess is that the company will make the big announcement at its 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in July this year.
Based on what we know so far about Jio GigaFiber, it is expected to bring disruption to the broadband space as the company did in the telecom market. Early adopters of the service are being offered free service for 90 days, which gives them 1,110GB data per month with up to 100Mbps speed. The test run of Jio GigaFiber is currently limited to Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad and more cities are likely to be added soon.
Early testers of Jio GigaFiber must pay Rs 4,500 refundable deposit towards installation and device costs. If the users choose to discontinue the service after the preview offer has ended, the full amount will be refunded.
Reliance Jio is also tight-lipped about the price plans, which some reports suggest could start as low as Rs 500 a month for 300GB data at 50Mbps speed. The next tier will be Rs 750 a month for 450GB data at 50Mbps speeds. The telco will also offer two mid-level plans at Rs 999 and Rs 1,299, which will give 600GB and 750GB of data at 100Mbps, respectively. The top-end package will come at Rs 1,500 that will give 900GB at maximum speed.
We are already seeing incumbents adjust their plans to prepare for the Jio GigaFiber's arrival. It will be interesting to see how the broadband market will transform when Jio officially hits the market.