The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is investigating the possibility of spinning off the fibre-optic backbone network owned by state-backed and debt-laden telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to unlock value, Hindu Business Line reports. The move follows calls for BSNL to hive off its towers assets to a separate entity, as the government seeks to adapt the telco’s business model to better fit the Indian market. With more than 600,000km of fibre-optic cable, BSNL’s assets are a potential cash-cow for the telco, particularly as the market moves towards high speed broadband and mobile data services. Previously, DoT’s calculations regarding the separation of BSNL’s 61,622 mobile towers into a separate company suggested that the new entity would have earned INR9.64 billion (USD158.2 million) in the 2012-2013 financial year. Plans to carve up the telco’s infrastructure have faced massive resistance from BSNL’s trade union, which has threatened to go on immediate strike if any decision is made without discussion with union representatives.
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