DoT may spin off BSNL fiber business

Dylan Bushell-Embling
13 Mar 2014

India's Department of Telecom is reportedly considering spinning off the fiber infrastructure operated by state-owned telco BSNL into a separate entity.

The proposed spin-off would form part of the government's plan to split BSNL into different entities to attempt to turn around the unprofitable company, The Hindu Business Linereported.

BSNL has a fiber footprint spanning over 600,000km. But unlike private operators including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications, the company has not yet managed to arrange any fiber sharing agreements making use of this infrastructure. A separate entity may have better luck.

The DoT is also considering splitting BSNL's tower business into its own entity, and may offer private companies the chance to buy an equity stake in the company.

BSNL has around 61,000 towers - more than any other Indian company besides the Airtel-Vodafone-Idea tower joint venture Indus Towers, which has around 120,000.

But according to the report, BSNL's employee's union may stand in the way of the spin-off plan, as they have threatened immediate strike action if a decision is made without their consultation.

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