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Cisco bets big on govts pushing wireless tech to link rural areas

Our Regional Bureau  |  Chennai 

expects a significant flow of business from the efforts of the central and state governments to establish communications links with rural areas through wireless devices.
Shripati Acharya, director, marketing of Cisco's Wireless Networking Business Unit, felt that wireless was going to impact networking in a big way.
To give a sense of wireless' potential in India Acharya said that he had heard that 80 per cent of India's villages were located within a 15-20 kilometre radius of large urban centres. The pattern provided wireless with ample opportunities, he added.
Cisco Systems' Indian unit is well placed to make the best of a growth in demand for wireless equipment. Statistics presented in the magazine, Dataquest, showed that Cisco had captured almost half the Rs 83 crore market in 2004-05 for Wireless LAN (WLAN) equipment.
The WLAN market itself has received a boost following a sharp fall in equipment price. For instance, the price of an access point has fallen from Rs 20,000 in March 2003 to Rs 2,500 in March 2005.
Cisco, which recorded a revenue of Rs 2,703 crore in 2004-05, got most of its revenue from routers and switches.
Acharya said that Cisco would integrate its wireless equipment in switches and routers. The aim is to unify wired and wireless areas. "We want to look at an integrated piece," he said.
In the wireless space, Acharya identified WiFi hotspots as a growth area for Cisco. He said that India had 500 hotspots today. The number is expected to double in a year, he added.
Cisco started its operations in India in 1994. In India, the company has a headcount of about 1,400 people. Cisco Global Development Centre in Bangalore is the company's largest outside of the US.

First Published: Wed, September 21 2005. 00:00 IST