Reliance Jio to launch FTTH, Microsoft Azure and blockchain

Reliance Jio to launch FTTH, Microsoft Azure and blockchain across India

12 August 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Indian operator Reliance Jio is to introduce Azure in its data centres, gigabit fibre for customers and a pan-India blockchain network.

Mukesh Ambani (pictured), chairman of Reliance Industries (RIL), which owns Jio, announced these three innovations for the company at its annual general meeting earlier today.

RIL is not connected with Reliance Communications (RCom), owned by Mukesh Ambani’s brother Anil; that separate company is now in bankruptcy restructuring and its subsidiary, Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), is being sold by its bondholders

Jio will launch Jio Fiber on 5 September – the third anniversary of the company’s foundation in what was then an oversupplied mobile market. Since then, consolidation and bankruptcy has reduced the field to just a handful of major players, including Jio itself.

Prices for Jio Fiber will go from 700 rupees ($9.80) a month for 100Mbps to 10,000 rupees ($140) for 1Gbps. Jio will add a high-definition TV to the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) package when a customer signs up for a year.

Jio has more than 340 million customers, Ambani told the annual meeting. “The potential for growth is immense and half a billion customers is now I believe well within our reach.”

Next year the company will launch its own new-movie service to premium fibre customers, under the brand First Day First Show.

Ambani told the AGM that Jio will install its own blockchain network, which he claimed would be one of the largest in the world, with “tens of thousands of nodes”. It will be used for edge computing and content distribution, he said.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was at the AGM for the announcement of a partnership with Jio for the “digital transformation of India”, including Jio Azure, which will be used for new cloud data centres across the country.

Ambani said it would provide connectivity, business and automation tools to small businesses in India from 1,500 rupees ($21) a month. Indian start-ups will be able to access the Jio-Azure cloud service free of charge, he added.

Before Jio was set up three years ago, “India was data dark,” said Ambani. “And now, with Jio, India is data shining bright.”