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Reliance’s ‘palm trees’ come up across campus3 min read

March 25, 2017 3 min read


Reliance’s ‘palm trees’ come up across campus3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Manipal: Towers disguised as plastic palm trees have propped up across the University campus, provisioning coverage bandwith for users of Reliance Jio.

While they have attracted widespread attention, the proximity of these towers to the living quarters earlier prompted a fear of radiation and other health problems. “The University also expressed similar concerns at the beginning of the project to which Reliance Jio presented a report that deemed the equipment to be TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) compliant. It was also observed that the radiation caused is equivalent to that of carrying your mobile phones in your pocket,” said Sathish Kamath, Assistant Director, IT Department, Manipal University.

The entire model is composed of three layers, the first being a larger tower similar to the regular mobile tower, set at larger distances, the second being the outdoor points set up outside the buildings and lastly, the in-building, smaller cell units similar to the WiFi access points. These layers ensure the reduced strength of the towers, nullifying any large-scale health threats. Such a network model also ensures a greater bandwidth with negligible connectivity issues. This has been a boon to many, especially within the KMC hospital which received very minimal coverage earlier.

This artificial palm tree in the lawns of Block-3 meant to serve as an outdoor point is one among the numerous cell towers being set up across the hostel campus. || Photo Courtesy: Tamanna Wadehra

All of these services have been provided without any commitment from the side of the university. The entire project is an investment by the company; the experience and the services offered is expected to bring Jio the targeted customer base.

Various speculations have been running rampant with regard to the freebies offered by the Reliance Jio Network. With an initial investment of close to $21 billion, the team seems to be banking on the future to receive greater returns based on customer value. With the introduction of Prime Membership and the retraction of the free services scheme, the number of users, which has crossed the 100 million mark in just six months, is expected to fall drastically. Surprisingly, the company sees this as an advantage.

“When someone signs up for a premium membership, they will definitely expect more than what they were receiving before. If of all our customers, even 60% wish to discontinue, the remaining 40% will experience the ‘wow’ factor of our services,” said a representative of the Reliance Jio project here, in Manipal. “Three to four years down the line, what we are installing today will be a base for other services.”

The towers have helped improve connectivity inside KMC Hospital || Photograph Courtesy: Tamanna Wadehra

The network has brought in many possibilities in terms of an active use of IoTs (Internet of Things) within the campus. This, in turn, is expected not only to simplify numerous maintenance and administrative processes but also enhance the ‘Virtual Classroom’ that has been recently installed in MIT and encourage the utilisation of cloud storage.

With the discontinuation of free services from April. the consumer base of the Jio network will soon be put to test. Whether the initial capital investment will reap benefits for them or incur losses, is uncertain.

Featured Image: Tamanna Wadehra.

Edited by Shriya Ramakrishnan