Sterlite Technologies, founded by Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Group, is among the early companies to have bagged a smart city project. Sterlite, said senior official of the company, has bagged contract from Gandhinagar.
The contract entails creating a Wi-Fi city, with applications like smart parking and lighting.
“We are creating 400-500 access points for Wi-Fi, with applications like smart parking and lighting. The plan is to give 30 minutes of Wi-Fi free. The project amount is around Rs 30-40 crore,” said Anand Agarwal, CEO, Sterlite Technologies.
The Gandhinagar project is part of the Gujarat government's initiative to develop some cities as smart cities. Agarwal also said the company was in talks with all the 20 states mentioned in the smart city list by the Central government.
With increasing spend of government on building network, Agarwal believes the share of government projects in its revenue will also go up in the coming years. “In the telecom sector till date it was the private sector investing more. But with rural broadband, Bharat Net and defence networking projects coming up we think Government contribution could become a larger component,” added he.
The company has already won Rs 2,000 crore contract from the Indian Army under which it has to connect defence establishments in J&K with high-speed optical fibres. Agarwal also said that there is more headroom to grow in the defence sector as contracts worth Rs 7,000 – 8,000 crore are up for grab.
This is not all. The company, in the final stages of demerging its power business, is looking to diversify from its telecom products business to more managed networks and services profile. Sterlite is among the leading players of optic fibre manufacturers including optic fibre cables, power conductors and cables
Till five years back Sterlite was more focused on supplying just products, but since then they have started connected the fibre optics as well. In 2015 it acquired Elitecore Technologies that gave them expertise in telecom services.
Add to this, a year-and-a-half back Sterlite invested in creating a centre of excellence in Aurangabad. This was followed by an announcement earlier this month of setting up a customer experience centre in Gurgaon, that will showcase the latest technology like 5G technology to sensors in smart cities.
“Over the next three years our centre of gravity will move towards designing, building and managing networks. In three years time we will be in various stages of network development. This will also mean that we will be moving more towards services play but on the strength of our products,” added Agarwal.
Agarwal wants Sterlite to be frontrunner in the government’s plan to create sustainable network grid. “From telecom investment perspective the biggest driver is data. Everyone realises that voice is saturated and telcos growth will come from data. Second, from an intent perspective, broadband needs to an infrastructure requirement, just like power and electricity.
Three, the push for rural broadband network and four is creation of smart city. We have projects in all these four segments,” he added.
India, according to Agarwal has about 80 million km of fibre. Compare this to China, which has about 1.2 billion km and the US has 400 million km. Based on any parameter India needs at least 1km per person of optic fibre.