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August 3, 2000
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Aptech launches Internet access service

Indian computer education and software firm Aptech Limited said on Thursday it had launched Internet access service through a wholly owned subsidiary and hoped to have a subscriber base of 150,000 within a year.

"The Internet service will be available initially in Bombay (Bombay), New Delhi and Bangalore and then extended to 112 cities across the country," the subsidiary, Aptech Internet Limited said in a statement.

Aptech joins a clutch of private players in the highly competitive Internet access market in India.

Key players include Satyam Infoway, the unlisted Dishnet DSL Ltd, and Internet ventures of Zee Telefilms, Rolta India, BPL Limited, BSES Limited and a joint venture between British Telecommunications Plc and Delhi-based telecom group Bharti Enterprises.

The state-run Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited leads the pack among Internet access providers in India and state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited is also a leading service provider. Internet providers have slashed prices drastically in recent months to grab market share.

An Aptech Internet official said subscribers of the service, branded 'Tring Tring', will receive free computer training for a limited number of hours. A 50-hour package for Rs 599 and a 100-hour package for Rs 999 will include four hours of personalised training, he said.

Gartner Group Inc said on Wednesday that India, which had an estimated 3.1 million regular Internet surfers and who surf for at least an hour a week, recorded the highest Internet user growth in the Asia-Pacific region in the current year.

Aptech shares finished Thursday down 1.3 per cent at Rs 589.70 on the Sensex, while the main Bombay index closed 1.28 per cent lower.

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