Broadband: next telecom revolution

By : |July 19, 2011 0

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Though digital divide and lack of pace in broadband penetration are some major issues that India is facing today, the government and the telecom industry see it as an enabler of next telecom revolution in the country.

The Communication, Multimedia and Infrastructure Association of India (CMAI) and the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) together with the government organized a national conference on next telecom revolution here in Vigyan Bhawan on Wednesday.

The telecommunications industry as well as the Ministry of Communications and IT and the advisor to the Prime Minister are optimistic and said that broadband can fuel the national growth beyond the current 8 per cent.

“We’ll be super power in IT with broadband penetration,” said Rajesh Chharia, president of ISPAI.

Chharia said there are various challenges to this, however. Infrastructure sharing is not allowed to ISPs, and also more spectrum for last mile connectivity should be given, he said.

Need to speed up online initiatives

“There is a need to speed up online initiatives and e-Governance programs with a focus on regional language and there is an urgent need of a policy to remove bottlenecks to facilitate broadband in India,” he added.

N K Goyal, president, CMAI, said that broadband will definitely revolutionize the era that we are in. Close to 1000 delegates from the industry and associations as well as the government, including DoT, DIT, BSNL and MTNL marked their presence.

R Chandrashekhar, Secretary, Ministry of Communications and IT, and Chairman of the Telecom Commission, said that the new revolution will be the fusion of IT and telecom.

“In the next couple of years, we are expected to have 1100 million mobile users in the country. The financial inclusion through mobile devices has a potential to change the whole game,” said Chandrashekhar.

Cellphone to generate income

According to him, the mobile phone would be a device to generate income and it could not just be seen as an investment. “The policy and regulatory changes are also important and the ministry is already discussing it with the stakeholders,” Chandrashekhar informed.

Milind Deora, Minister of State for Communications and IT, said that the benefits of broadband are transparent but unfortunately the growth rate falls behind the telephony in India.

“We have National Fiber Optic Plan to provide connectivity to all villages and the government has already formed a high-level committee to oversee it,” he said.

Deora also said that the ministry is very serious to allow telecom equipment manufacturers to compete globally. “There will be an announcement shortly with regards to telecom and IT manufacturing in the country,” he added.

Sam Pitroda, advisor to the PM on Information, Innovation and Infrastructure, said that the second phase of telecom revolution is yet to begin, which would be broadband. “Connectivity, content, services and innovations will be the critical aspects of broadband,” he said.

“The government is very progressive and providing a lot of support and is committed to facilitate investment in futuristic ideas,” he said. Pitroda also said that 250,000 panchayats needs to be connected with fiber and the government has earmarked Rs. 13,000 crore for this project which is in the planning stage.

Sachin Pilot, MoS for Communications and IT, said that it’s a great challenge to connect the country with fiber and bridge the digital divide. “The real challenge is not to meet the demand but to stimulate the demand in the country,” he said.

The Government of India is already spending money to create infrastructure and is committed to connect panchayats. “In the next 2 to 3 years’ time, India will go through a paradigm shift. We are ensuring that the next revolution would happen soon,” Pilot added.

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