Customers using fixed-line broadband at home are in for a bonanza as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm extend the price war that’s currently being played out in the wireless data space. Bharti Airtel will now offer up to double the high-speed data benefits for the same price under its refreshed plans, seeking to retain subscribers ahead of Jio’s commercial launch of similar services called JioFiber. “We believe these new plans will also drive the adoption of high-speed broadband in the country,” Hemanth Kumar Guruswamy, CEO – Homes, Bharti Airtel (India), said in a statement Wednesday. Airtel’s move to slash effective rates for home broadband customers comes as the Mukesh Ambani-owned telco rolls out its free JioFiber Preview offer in select areas of Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat and Vadodara. The service is widely expected to start commercially in June. Analysts said home broadband will become crucial for high-end data users, given the affordable prices in India and Jio’s entry would create more demand. “Fixed-line broadband is a new front for telcos, but its implications will be seen much later since the availability of fixed-line broadband is still very sparse and a very few people depend on it,” ComFirst director Mahesh Uppal said. “The implications are more for heavy users, especially in metro areas, where network has reach and capacity. That is where we will see some competition.” Airtel had 1.96 million broadband customers as of March 31, while state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam led the market with about 10 million users. The country had 18.68 million wireline broadband users as on January 31, or less than 2 percent of the population, according to data from the telecom regulator. This is a far cry from over a billion mobile phone users in the country, with a tele-density of almost 91 percent. To better compete with Jio-Fiber, which will offer speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, Airtel recently rolled out Airtel Surprises and my-Home Rewards, providing free additional data benefits to customers. In addition, it introduced ‘V-Fiber’ services that allow its copper-based fixed-line network to offer up to 100 Mbps to homes. V-Fiber is available where Airtel doesn’t have the fibre to offer broadband services. Seeing the potential, Hyderabad-based ACT has launched India’s first 1 Gbps wired broadband internet service with 1 tera byte of data usage in Hyderabad, targeting retail and startup customers. Fixed broadband enables high-speed data delivery at consistent speeds. In-home high-speed data consumption in India is increasing, with customers looking to stream high-definition content and download heavy files across a variety of connected devices. Airtel said fixed broadband will also enable Internet of Things services for homes with connected appliances and more in the near future. The telco said its Rs 899 plan will now offer 60 GB highspeed data compared with 30 GB earlier, while the Rs 1,099 plan will offer 90 GB instead of 50 GB. Similar large increments in data benefits are available at all price points in every city, with unlimited calls to any network available across all plans. Airtel said existing customers will be upgraded to the new benefits automatically within the current bill cycle, while new customers can choose from a host of plans. Customers can check their data consumption on the ‘My Airtel’ app – Mumbai Samachar