UPDATE (September 9): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Jio’s new broadband plans did not have a data limit. In fact, Jio has just replicated Airtel’s practice of calling a 3.3 terabyte data limit “unlimited”. We regret the error, and have updated this piece to remove references to that misunderstanding. You can read a piece on this practice of Jio and Airtel concealing data caps behind marketing language here.
JioFiber on Monday announced fixed line broadband plans with data caps of 3.3 terabytes. Starting at Rs 399 plus GST per month for 30Mbps, the pricier plans also include subscriptions to OTT services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, ZEE5, Voot, SunNxt, Hoichoi, and JioCinema. The plans go up to 300Mbps with the 3.3TB cap at Rs 1,499 a month plus GST.
Large broadband ISPs generally avoid providing truly unlimited plans. At launch, JioFiber had broadband plans that were remarkably conservative with data allowances. Some like Airtel justified the practice by saying that it was due to a small number of subscribers using much more data than usual.
Wireline broadband still has a way to go in India, with issues like residential societies having monopolies of providers, uneven rollout of infrastructure, and even neighbourhood cable monopolies seeking to protect their turf. Unlike satellite DTH for TVs, ISPs cannot look to the skies as a shortcut to getting around these issues, as satellite bandwidth is limited and slow — they need to pay the piper.