Network stability and robustness will play a big role in optimization process: Rajesh Sonpal, Ranco Energy Group

Ranco was the first outsourcing company to promote and develop the Integrated Services platform for Project Approval & Implementation (IS-PAI) for Energy, Telecom & Infrastructure Sector clients.

Ranco Energy Group is one of the leading companies in India offering Integrated Services for Project Approval & Implementation (IS-PAI) for Energy, Telecom & Infrastructure (ETI) sectors. It supplies Integrated Services & Skills for  Last-Mile project completion across diverse areas like Upstream E&P Business Support Services, Downstream Pipeline ROW/ROU  Services, Telecom Last-Mile IBD-FTTX Services for 4G Telecom Operators & Tower Infrastructure providers & Highway ATMS to  BOT Road developers in India.

Manish Joshi from NewsBarons connects with Rajesh Sonpal, Managing Director of Ranco Energy Group who informs ‘Data is  henceforth going to drive the way we set future benchmarks and evolve as a smart, digitally-driven economy’.

NB: Please provide a brief overview of your professional journey since Ranco Energy’s inception in 2005.

Rajesh: We have a total work experience of 23 years with a dedicated 13-year experience in providing IS-PAI services to  clients in the Energy, Telecom& Infrastructure (ETI) sector. To elaborate, we had been instrumental in obtaining crucial  permissions for 90,000 km of OFC Nationwide backbone project (of a 2G Operator) as also for a 360 km intra-state Gas  Pipeline Project. The company has assisted Foreign E&P companies in NELP bidding and obtaining PEL for both onshore &  offshore Oil Gas blocks in India. We have delivered Building Integrated Solar Photo Voltaic Projects (BIPV) and have acquired in-place resources for E&P companies through acquisitions bidding, to name a few.

Our key current deliverables include executing an OFC IBD-FTTX project for a National Telecom Operator (offering 4G), providing business support services (BSS) to a 5 MW Hydel plant in Himachal Pradesh, setting up a cold storage in Navi Mumbai and establishing India’s 1st Vocational University for Energy, Telecom & Infrastructure in Uttrakhand

NB: How have the Energy, Telecom and Infrastructure sectors evolved over the years and what have been the specific challenges encountered by you while executing IS-PAI services?

Rajesh: As a SME, we were the first outsourcing company to promote and develop the Integrated Services platform for Project
Approval & Implementation (IS-PAI) for Energy, Telecom & Infrastructure Sector clients. Our focus is to provide “Total Solutions” to clients. This broadly includes providing last-mile approvals, Right of Way (ROW), Regulatory and last-Mile Optimisation for the clients.

Ranco is currently:

  • Providing last-mile, Fibre-to-Home & Fibre-to-Office (FTTX) OFC infrastructure for a pan-India operator for their network in Western Maharashtra & South Gujarat.
  • Assisting a very large Road BOT developer to maintain end-to-end OFC infrastructure and seamless connectivity on NH corridor in Western India.
  • Assisting a telecom infrastructure provider to obtain last-mile energy access for their infrastructure in western region.

Over the past few years, it is being increasingly witnessed that these outsourcing opportunities, to provide last-mile & AMC services for critical OFC infrastructure of telecom operators, are rapidly increasing. This is a major deviation from the time when most of the operators were doing it in-house. Now, most Backbone OFC network operators & Road BOT developers are increasingly moving away from this to mitigate costs, improve efficiencies & surveillance & increase the network integrity. Our principal focus is network stability and we have undertaken to raise the benchmarks here.

The challenges are more in the nature of material integrity and failure rates. We work very closely with clients’ field technical teams to monitor network failures and reduce TAT (turn-around time). Critical backbone infra should not have more than 4 hours of downtime and we have been within this on 98% of times. The challenge lies in surveillance and fault detection. We have invested heavily on specialized skills, equipment and tools to overcome this.

NB: In your view, is India on the pathway to emerge as a global telecom and infrastructure superpower? If no, what are the specific challenge areas that are impending the progress?

Rajesh: India is the world’s 6th largest economy and like all emerging smart economies we have infrastructure issues. We have reached a certain level of saturation in voice services. Data is henceforth going to drive the way we set future benchmarks and evolve as a smart, digitally-driven economy. We need to have a certain level of convergence and we still have a long way to go before the operators start offering optimal network performances. As such, network stability and robustness will play a big role in this optimization process. This will in turn define how we address data integrity issues in future. Today, we treat data sub-optimally and one thing that this critical data infrastructure will address will be to package this commercially for different levels of applications, usage & consumers. We are still at least 10 years away from that according to what we see on the ground.

NB: Do you have an overseas presence?

Rajesh: Instead of actual physical presence, we have had service level presence over the years in Canada & UAE.

NB: With the energy sector picking pace, especially in the non-renewable sector, how critical will IS-PAI services prove in past-pacing these projects?

Rajesh: Very critical. In-fact our IS-PAI’s constitutional structure places overwhelming emphasis on last-mile convergence & services. IS-PAI will define how fast and rapidly operators can provide end-to-end connectivity, whether it is telecom or renewable energy. Today, the clients have an overarching need to take convergence &last-mile services to the customer’s doorstep within the shortest possible time. Also, the key differentiators for the overlapping networks will be principally ROI criteria along with the operator’s ability to win key consumers within the given timeframe and these will be the key deciding factors among other peripheral things.

NB: How is the current vocational training & skills enhancement infrastructure in India positioned to render specialized services for dealing with the fast-growing ETI sectors in India?

Rajesh: IS-PAI’s DNA is built around SKILLS. In this convergence era, skills and skills up-gradation will determine the speed with which our clients can reach key consumers and also maintain network robustness and data integrity. With this challenge and need, we decided to bring skills where they are required the most – at the client’s doorstepWe decided to focus on developing short-term skills and vocational training modules for clients in Energy, Telecom & Infrastructure (ETI). We looked at several emerging modules and thought of focusing on & building critical vocational training infrastructure in the form of a Skills & Vocational University in India. Luckily, we found a place and have acquired land in Uttarakhand and have obtained the license to build a Vocational University along with the final permits for the same. We will start offering short & long-term certification courses, diploma programs, associate & full-degree programs and integrated PG programs in ETI applications. We are in the processof finalizing the curriculum and intend to start delivering the same from FY ’19-20

NB: Kindly comment on future expansion plans?

Rajesh: We are clearly moving towards expanding our IS-PAI services to include more sub-verticals in Telecom, Infrastructure & Energy space. We have a strong presence in telecom last-mile and also building niche supporting infrastructure along highways in the western zone.

We are in the process of ramping up resources and skills to offer IS-PAI services to Oil & Gas and EPCI clients. We have recently tied-up with a large financial services-to-infrastructure conglomerate to establish an offshore fabrication yard in North-West Gujarat on a shore-based facility owned by them.

In addition to this, we have a very deep focus on establishing our Vocational University in Uttarakhand in the next 2-3 years. We have already acquired 25 acres of land and with a strong commitment to add another 37 acres or more as needed to build a second campus, again within Uttarakhand. We have the license in place along with Single Window Clearance from the Govt. of Uttarakhand on this. We are in the process of collaborating with a domestic skills company to start offering certification and diploma programs in an interim infrastructure acquired for the same. We will reach revenues of Rs. 16 crore by March ’20 and Rs. 112 crore by March ’25 for our IS-PAI & Higher Education Verticals. In all these, we aspire to maintain EBIDTA at around 27-29% of our sales.