How to become an Internet Service Provider in India?

How to become an Internet service provider in India?

In this article we provide information on how to become an Internet service provider in India

Quick Summary

  1. Plan your business and network
  2. Research laws and apply for an ISP license
  3. Start evaluating for hardware/software vendors
  4. Get your ISP license approval from DoT
  5. Purchase hardware, software and bulk bandwidth
  6. Set up network infrastructure
  7. Start marketing with brochures, banners and free WiFi advertising
  8. Build customers; give them quality service and support
  9. Become an Internet Service Provider in India!

OR simply contact us and we shall help you get started!

[Note: If you wish to become a ISP or WISP – we recommend you to read this article: How to become a WISP in India?]

So, you want to become an Internet service provider in India? We’ll guide you with this tutorial. We have broken this guide into 3 sections:

  1. Legal Factors – The licenses required and guidelines to comply to become an Internet service provider in India.
  2. Business Factors – A section explaining infrastructure and start-up costs, marketing and sales strategy and support channels.
  3. Technical Factors – The technologies you need become an Internet service provider – Syslog server, data servers, Broadband / WiFi Management Software and user authentication systems.



There first thing you’re going to need is an ISP license to become an Internet service provider in India. This is issued by the Department of Telecom. There are 3 types of service areas under one Unified ISP license issued by the Department of Telecom in India. These licenses are allocated on the basis of service areas:

  • Service Area – Category A: This ISP license enables you to conduct business across ANY state/city in India.
  • Service Area – Category B: This ISP license enables you to conduct business in any of the twenty Territorial Telecom Circles and the four Metro Telephone Systems of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai of the DoT.
  • Service Area – Category C: This includes any Secondary Switching Area (SSA) with their geographical boundaries defined by Depart of Telecom. The SSAs of each of the four Metro Telephone Systems of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai with their geographical boundaries defined as on 1.4.1997, however, stand excluded from Category ‘C’ as they already form a separate Category ‘B’ Service Area.

You can learn more about how to apply for an ISP License by clicking here:




Where do you plan to provide the Internet service?

Have you conducted a market survey of the existing ISPs in your area and their internet plans?

Have you considered the pricing plans you would like to offer to your end-users?

How many users do you expect to sign up for your Internet service in that area?

How do you intend to provide support to your end-users?

These are some of the questions we plan to answer in this section of how to become an Internet service provider in India.

A. Plan your business

The first thing you’re going to need is a business plan. You can get a sample business plan by clicking here. This plan will answer most of your questions on how to plan your ISP business.

B. Find your suppliers

The second thing you’re you going to need is find local suppliers of wholesale bandwidth. This requires a bit of local business intelligence. Find out who can provide you with a leased line in the area you wish to serve. There are 2 ways to procure bandwidth, either you get your own license or get an ISP franchise from an existing licensed provider.

C. Estimate your costs

Initially, since you would buy low volume of bandwidth, the cost of  bandwidth in India would be a little high at around 600 rupees/Mbps. Once you have negotiated with your local supplier to purchase wholesale bandwidth, you need to start noting all your estimated costs:

  • Cost of Room / Area to keep data servers
  • Cost of Hardware / Software
  • Cost of Monthly Bandwidth
  • Cost of Service
  • Cost of Marketing and Sales

D. Create pricing plan and monetization strategy

Once you have a basic understanding of your estimated costs, you need to start creating a pricing plan for broadband / WISP service. This pricing plan needs to be carefully thought through based on your estimated users and their demand for data.

E. Marketing Strategy

How do you plan to reach out to your customers? Many local ISPs in India use sales agents, brochures, bus depot advertisements and digital marketing (or WiFi Advertising) to reach out to their potential customers. Plan a clear marketing strategy.

F. Support Strategy

Think of a multichannel support strategy – Set up your call center, email ticket system and connect it with your billing management software etc. The key to starting a successful ISP business is having fantastic support.




The last thing and the perhaps the most important thing to consider is the technology that will power your Internet service provision company.

A. Method of Delivery

Ethernet – The first thing to consider here is method of delivery. You can lay your own leased line (fibre optic cables). This method can be slightly more expensive.

Wireless – Alternatively, you can also choose to deliver your Internet service by creating a Wireless network. (Becoming Wireless Internet Service Provider). This method of delivery has lower quality of service than the former method.

B. Source of Delivery

Whether your method of delivery is Ethernet or Wireless; you will need to bring your purchased bulk bandwidth to a centralized location before you deliver it.

This location will contain your syslog server, user-data server, and deliveries/management server. You will also need to buy a broadband or WiFi management software to create user plans, track sites as per government laws for Internet provision in India.

Links for references:

  1. Top 5 WiFi Management Software
  2. How to become a WISP in India?

Note: At Muft Internet, we help people become Internet Service Providers in India. We are an ISP consultancy firm dedicated to help aspiring, small and mid-sized Internet service providers in India overcome their technical or legal roadblocks. We have worked on several low cost ISP setups for people who want to start their own ISP business.
Plan your own ISP/WISP business, apply for an ISP license, deploy your network or buy bulk bandwidth – our expert ISP consultants are here to help you.

Learn how you can become an Internet service provider and start your own WISP/ISP business with less than ₹ 8 lacs and within 120 days.

Internet Censorship in India by Governmental Bodies & Political Groups

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Big brother’s watching you. Big brother wants to control what you see.

And no, we are not talking about the American government. This time, we speak up against the Indian government’s political censorship on the Internet.

“The OpenNet Initiative classified India as engaged in “selective” Internet filtering in the political, conflict/security, social, and Internet tools areas in 2011.”

So, what exactly makes a Government body competent to decide what information we should see and what we shouldn’t? Well, there is no clear structure. At present, any form of censorship could pass in the name of “National Security”. But most of these blocks are politically charged.

The website LiveLeak has broken many serious stories in the past during the Arab Spring and to highlight issues like police brutality in the United states.

Live Leak also has a lot of useless content that may not interest you. But that doesn’t mean the Government can choose to ban this entire site?

There needs to be systematic process in how we censor information. We can’t just have a random approach.

Remember when Ravi Shankar Prasad’s (current IT Minister) team tried to ban porn sites? Do they really believe that all the porn on the Internet is present only on 1200 odd websites? NEWSFLASH: There are millions of porn websites and it technologically impossible to block even 10% of it.

Remember when Kapil Sibal’s (ex-IT minister) team wanted to block Google and Facebook when they found out that there was offensive material against Indian National Congress? – (Impossible to prescreen Content: says Facebook and Google -) DNA India

We need to fight harder (more than ever) to protect our free Internet.

“The national security policy of the world’s biggest democracy is undermining freedom of expression and the protection of Internet users’ personal data.” – Reporters without borders

“In 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that bloggers and moderators can face libel suits and even criminal prosecution for comments posted on their websites.” – Freedom House report

“I am mystified by our government’s approach both to the internet and to the millions of Indians using it. It does not adhere to the values of our republic and democracy. This matter needs to be addressed urgently, for which I propose to file a PIL in the Supreme Court. Don’t kill the freedom of speech, change the IT Rules” – Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament

“In July 2006, the Indian government ordered the blocking of 17 websites, including some hosted on the Geocities, Blogspot and Typepad domains. Initial implementation difficulties led to these domains being blocked entirely.” – Outlook India

“n an order dated 13 June 2013, the Department of Telecom (DoT) directed Indian Internet service providers (ISPs) to block 39 websites. The order didn’t specify a reason or law under which the websites were blocked.” – The Times of India

Read about how your rights are being violated here:

Digital India ‪#‎internetcensorchip‬ ‪#‎freeinternet‬ ‪#‎muftinternet‬

The best possible analogy on why #NetNeutrality should matter!


Imagine if Muft Internet was a big pharma company and we would make a claim that we will give free medicines to ALL Indians.

We start by offering free medicines for 30 diseases. In the mean time, a lot of small and mid sized drug and pharma companies start shutting down.

People get pissed off as they aren’t getting medicines for a lot of other diseases easily. You’re lucky if you have 1 of those 30 diseases… if its something else, sorry too bad – you need to pay extraordinary amounts to get medicine!

We later offer free medicines for 30 more diseases and start advertising on TV on ‘how we would love it if people in India would have free medicine’. We do this to improve our PR image.

So 60 free medicines for 60 diseases in total. In the mean time, a lot more mid sized and large companies start shutting down.

No matter the illness, we only offer 60 different medicines. It’s all free, but only 60 diseases can be cured.

Do you understand the analogy? Or should I further break it down for you?

Comic Image Source: Unknown

Updates on Net Neutrality in India:, Facebook destroying Internet infrastructure in India

Something larger than the 2G Scam is about to take place if people don’t start speaking up against net neutrality in India.

FOR PEOPLE WHO THINK #NETNEUTRALITY DOESN'T MATTER!Imagine if Muft Internet was a big pharma company and we would make…

Posted by Muft Internet on 28 September 2015

This posts contains significant news stories that you must have missed about net neutrality in India.

First, let’s start with understanding net neutrality. If you don’t want to get into much details, just watch this awesome video by AIB on ‘what is net neutrality’.

More stories your should read:

Facebook and Google are being dubious about India’s net neutrality

“Facebook, in its attempt to push its, is disingenuously running a poll on its website where it is asking Indian web users if they want free internet or not. The choices are yes or say something later. People don’t even have the option of no. Google, on the other hand, has been uncharacteristically silent on net neutrality in India. But that doesn’t mean it has nothing to say on this matter. In emails leaked by Nikhil Pahwa of Medianama, the company apparently asked Internet and Mobile Association of India to tone down the pro net-neutrality recommendations that the organisation submitted to the government.”

The government has done NOTHING about net neutrality in India. In fact, in a recent visit to US by PM Modi, he met Zuckerberg and seemed to be quiet happy about his!

Net Neutrality in India: Government receives over 50,000 comments on forum

“There has been a surge in public response, pushing the number of comments on the telecom department panel’s net neutrality recommendations to over 50,000, asking for free and equal access to the Web, according to The Economic Times. The responses to the report on the portal were 52,172 and increasing by the minute.”

You can read about some of the comments here!
Give your Comments or Suggestions on Recommendations of Committee on Net Neutrality

“Committee on Net Neutrality has submitted its report to the Department of Telecommunications. Its recommendations broadly contain technical, regulatory and public policy related measures required with respect to Net Neutrality issue.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is also currently engaged in consultation process on the issue whose recommendations are awaited.
It is emphasized that the views expressed in the report are that of the Committee and not of the Government. Your valuable comments, wide scale consultations, as also the report of the TRAI will help the Government to take appropriate decision on the issue.”

Tinting your Facebook profile picture with the tricolour? Here’s why some claim you should think twice

Company denies online claims that using profile tool is a surreptitious way to gain support for its contentious project.

A lot of people have spoken out against net neutrality on
Read Malav Patel's answer to Is against net neutrality? on Quora – Destroying Net Neutrality in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bolivia

We have been writing against’s net neutrality principles for a while now. We have raised key ethical concerns with Internet’org’s business model and how it is fundamentally destroying the free neutral Internet architecture. Countries need to unite to stop from destroying Net Neutrality in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia etc.

We have been trying  to raise awareness about net neutrality since a year!
We have been trying to raise awareness about net neutrality since a year!

The key problem with – it’s NOT free Internet. It’s free Facebook on reliance sim cards.
A basic service like google search isn’t available on

It's not free Internet. It';s free Facebook if you buy a Reliance Sim Card.
It’s not free Internet. It’;s free Facebook if you buy a Reliance Sim Card.

A few weeks ago, AIB released a brilliant video speaking up against net neutrality violations in India. Watch it if you haven’t already!

This video caused an outrage amidst the Internet users in India. As the video went viral, Facebook countered this with the following message:

free fb - Copy

The funny thing is how Mark Zuckerberg defines Internet access. How can the CEO of a billion dollar company not know what’s the meaning of ‘free Internet’?

Net neutrality isn’t just at threat in India. It’s a serious threat everywhere.

Special tie up with Telenor
Special tie up with Telenor
Destroying Net Neutrality in Bangladesh
Destroying Net Neutrality in Bangladesh
Net Neutrality in Bolivia at threat
Net Neutrality in Bolivia at threat

There are multiple ways by which could alter its business model so that it doesn’t affect net neutrality in India and several other countries. However, that’s not going to happen anytime soon unless netizens around the world take a stand against net neutrality violations by

How many people are offline in India? The current state of Internet access

In a recent study conducted by Mckensy in 2014, it was stated that out of the 4.4 billion people in the world who lack Internet access, 3.4 billion non-users come from just 20 countries (Kara Sprague, James Manyika, Bertil Chappuis, Jacques Bughin, Ferry Grijpink, Lohini Moodley, Kanaka Pattabiraman, 2014).

1 billion in India are offline

India is a developing country with a population of approximately 1.3 billion or roughly 1000 times that of Estonia’s. India has 29 states and 7 union territories, with its population spread across over approximately 30 major cities, 8000 towns and more than 600,000 villages.

India has one of the lowest Internet penetration rates with only 15% of its population having access to Internet (The World Bank, 2013). This may seem like a small number in percentage but India has over 300 million Internet users – the third largest digital population in the world.

As of 2014, India had 930 million cellphone subscriptions. Only 6.4 % (or 60.19 million) of these are mobile Internet users – by way of a smartphone or a USB data dongle. (Telephone Regulatory Authority of India, 2014).

Only about 5% of India’s service exports are ICT based (The World Bank, 2013) amounting to approximately 100 billion USD. This is roughly 66 times that of Estonia’s ICT export (gross).

Strangely, the world’s highest number of non-Internet users come from the same country that produces some of the cheapest smartphones, has one of the widest network coverage by kilometer square, is the third largest ICT exporter in the world and has the second largest cellphone subscriptions in the world.

Much work is being done to address the issue of ‘affordability’ by the government of India, research institutions, corporates and non-governmental organizations. One key solution, being pushed by the private sector and government of India, to bring more people online and bridge the digital divide is provision of free or (affordable / low-cost) Internet access via Wi-Fi.

Read More on the Current State of Internet Access in India.