Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mukesh Ambani's broadband plan is speeding up

Mukesh Ambani’s nation-wide broadband rollout plan is gathering pace.
On Tuesday, Infotel Broadband Services, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd that’s spearheading the foray, said it acquired a 38.5% stake in Extramarks Education, a Noida- based firm focussed on digital learning and online education based on the CBSE, ICSE, and NCERT syllabi. Financial details were not disclosed.
The investment in Extramarks has been made through Reliance Strategic Investments Ltd, and indicates the group’s broadband offering will cover a wide gamut of people’s needs and markets.
Last year, Reliance Industries acquired a 95% stake in Infotel Broadband for Rs.4,800 crore, making it a subsidiary, right after the auction of 3G spectrum was conducted.
This is not the first initiative by RIL in the education space — the Dhirubhai Ambani International School was the first — and the objective is to strengthen its content portfolio in the education space and make use of it when the group launches its 4G services in future.
It’s also indicative of the growing interest among companies towards education.
“Corporates have always been involved in education and the interest has only grown over the years. There is a huge demand and supply gap when it comes toeducation and this can only be bridged by welcoming more and more players in the segment through different channels,” said Narayan Ramaswamy, partner and head, education practice at KPMG.
Estimates by Technopak, the consulting firm, said from $40 billion in 2008, the education business in India will be worth a stupendous $115 billion by 2018.

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