Hathway unplugs Internet services in Chennai

 

The city's first broadband Internet service provider Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd has unplugged its services here and started refunding its subscribers their dues, officials said.

 

"We are forced to close down our business. We don't know why. This is the answer I give to all my subscribers," a company official, who did not want to be identified, told.

 

Part of the Mumbai-based Rajan Raheja group, Hathway Cable has around 50,000 subscribers in the city.

 

"It's only in Chennai that we are closing down our operations. Our services in Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli and Tiruppur are up and running," the official added.

 

For many in the company's Internet division, the unplugging of service is an emotional shock. "It is in Chennai that we started the commercial roll-out full fledged though the service was launched in Mumbai in a small pocket," another official said.

 

Hathway Cable is the second cable Internet service provider in the city to shut operations after the closing down of the services of Cyberwave Internet Solutions in 2002.

 

The company's broadband services are facing technical problems since the beginning of July.

 

Around 20,000 subscribers found themselves disconnected from the worldwide web earlier this month.

 

Company officials attributed that problem to the chopping of cables at several places and the loss of cable and amplifiers.

 

"We can fight competition on the ground but not the kind that is now played against us. Further in the Internet space we do not have any major rival in Chennai," one official said.

 

However, industry experts say there is an uneasy competition between Hathway Cable and the city-based Sun Cable Vision (SCV).

 

The company, which has invested around Rs.40 crore in its Chennai operations, closed down its cable television operations earlier this month as the operators affiliated to it switched loyalties to SCV.

The shutting down of the Internet operations will render around 300 people jobless.

July 31 2009 / IANS