Guwahati: The All Guwahati Internet Service Providers (AGISPA) on Monday said that they may have to shut down their services forcibly as the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) announced an abnormal hike in monthly rental of the electricity poles used by the private ISPs in city.
Addressing a press meet in the city, AGISP said that the APDCL, which is a public limited company owned by the Government of Assam, raised the tariff to 400%.
However, the company previously used to charge Rs 20 a month and now have raised the tariff to Rs 80.
Notably, in Guwahati, there are around 30 private internet service providers which employed around 1,300 people while in Assam there are more than 150 private players.
In a press release, the AGISPA stated, “The unfair rental hike demanded by APDCL has threatened the very existence of these local ISPs who now fear of being systematically wiped out. The Internet distribution Infrastructure has historically been the forte of small and medium sized local vendors such as members of AGISPA. No major national ISP has ever been able to make a wholesome presence in this field due to lack of proper service. Proper, on time, quality and personalised service has been the hallmark of these local small service operations.”
It further stated that, “The AGISPA hereby urges immediate intervention of the Chief Minister of Assam to rescue the thousands of educated self employed local youths involved in the ISPs from shutting down their networks and ensure that thousands of people are not rendered jobless. The closure of small & medium size ISPs shall not only give rise to unemployment, but have adverse effect upon consumers who shall have no option, but to become prey of monopoly, as only corporate will survive. AGISPA demands & urge the Government for waiver of monthly rental charges of the poles & proposes charging of one time nominal registration fees by APDCL which shall be renewed annually.”