Gaurav Mohan, Managing Director (India & SAARC), Dura-Line

Today, high speed broadband connectivity powered by optical fibre cable (OFC) has become a necessity. A number of stakeholders are involved in helping to create a strong OFC network that supports the needs of the digital economy. Dura-Line is one such company that has been involved in the high density polyethylene (HDPE) duct market and is creating strategic solutions that solve the unpredictable needs of future fibre cable requirements. In an interview with tele.net, Gaurav Mohan, managing director (India & SAARC), Dura-Line, shares his views on the company’s key focus areas and growth strategies…

What are Dura-Line’s key focus areas in the Indian market?

Dura-Line provides the essential infrastructure for data communications ar­ou­­nd the globe. The HDPE market in India is witnessing a steady growth post-Covid. HDPE ducts are predominantly used for transmission in the power sector. Rail­ways is another segment where railway paths are increasingly getting used for long-haul fibre broadband connections as well as long-haul cargo transportation. Railroad crossings and yards use fibre to activate signals and to move containers and track cars.

What is Dura-Line’s growth strategy for the Indian market?

Dura-Line is currently at the forefront of the government’s Smart Cities Mission by providing connectivity in over 25 smart cities with its differentiated pathway solutions. We have also played a pivotal role in the BharatNet scheme by providing high-speed broadband connectivity across India.

Dura-Line is very well poised to contribute towards digital readiness of India and 5G deployment. The company provides solutions that promise a smarter, se­am­less and more responsive network, whi­ch is expected to change the way we talk, text and connect. Our growth strat­egy is to propagate our value-added product portfolio comprising micro ducts, future path and jumbo future path in addition to our standard ducts. We are constantly building traction with our existing and prospective customers in multiple verticals such as sm­art cities, telcos, internet service providers (ISPs), data centres, airports, metro rail corporations as well as building infrastructure and large engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies. We are simultaneously increa­sing our participation in industrial, util­ity corridors and rene­wable energy segments by judiciously positioning our value-added product portfolio.

How are you tapping opportunities under the government’s Digital India initiative and the Smart Cities Mission? 

Availability of high speed broadband in rural areas is supercritical for ensuring the success of the Digital India dream. Gov­ern­me­nt initiatives such as BharatNet, the Smart Cities Mission and Startup India have paved the way for data proliferation and created mul­tiple revenue streams for Dura-Line.

What are the key challenges faced in smart city projects? Do these challenges hamper op­e­rations?

The smart city proposals are conceptualised by renowned consultants with financial plans worked out in advance. How­­e­v­er, most urban local bodies are still struggling to generate the required funds. The policies of state governments are not alig­ned with the central government guidelines; this delays the roll-out. Lack of well-defined pro­­ce­sses, regulatory permissions, and app­r­oval mechanisms both during the aw­a­rd of contract and at the execution stage of the project adversely impact project timelines.

The way forward should be to actively promote new collaboration models involving the state, local bodies and the private sector for provisioning of shared duct infrastructure in municipalities, rural areas and on nati­onal highways. Deployment of common telecom infrastructure during the construction of new highways, roads and civil infrastructure should be considered. The government should embrace and implement path-breaking policies such as “Dig Once and Dig Safe” to help reduce public inconvenience, operational costs, traffic hazards and pollution.

What are your thoughts on India’s evolving IoT landscape? Are you exploring opportunities in this space as well?

The adoption of new technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the internet of things (IoT) is dramatically changing the way we work and live. IoT will see connectivity move beyond smartphones and gadgets to connect billions of devices, vehicles, household appliances, monitors, and sensors. Cross-industry application is driving new business models and solutions. It is also supporting economic growth at the back of a vibrant start-up culture and creating new jobs and skills. Dura-Line is eyeing the IoT opportunity with its innovative products and solutions that are constantly creating what connects us.