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Now, access Internet without PC through @Box

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Hyderabad 

Hyderabad-based Ichip India Limited has come out with a low-cost Internet access device called @Box through which one can access the Internet on any television set or VGA (video graphic array) monitor without a personal computer (PC).

“It costs a fraction of PC and can connect to all existing Internet delivery media, enabled by a keyboard and trackball as a user interface device,” company's president and chief officer, Kota Bhaskar, told mediapersons claiming that @Box was “first-of-its-kind in the world and has been patented internationally.”

The box, the retail price of which is pegged at Rs 6,990, is sold in a standard package with a keyboard, track ball, power adaptor and a cable to connect to the television. Optional accessories include WiFi Stick, Ethernet Stick, wireless keyboard and head set.

Ichip has entered into a non-exclusive agreement with BSNL Broadband, which wants to supply @Box to its rural subscribers at a subisdised cost of Rs 2,500 per set. There will be no security deposit and BSNL will also not charge for registration and installation of the device.

As per the three-year agreement, Ichip will supply 900,000 devices to BSNL over the next 18 months. It is learnt that the revenue sharing between Ichip and BSNL is in the ratio of 70: 30. Ichip is also holding discussions with IPTV ( Internet protocol television) providers for the sale of its devices.

According to Bhaskar, Ichip is outsourcing the manufacturing of @Box in India and China. The company has targeted to produce 1 million units during the next financial year, of which 500,000 will be supplied to BSNL. Plans are also on the anvil to export 300,000 units to the US, Europe, Japan, Singapore and Bangladesh.

He said the company, which has a 50-member engineering team, had so far invested $3 million (about Rs 15 crore) for the development of @Box. The company is hopeful of posting a turnover of about $ 90 million (Rs 450 crore) in 2009-10.

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First Published: Tue, March 24 2009. 00:48 IST
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