Govt supports private telecom players

CIOL Bureau
New Update

NEW DELHI: The Government is in support of private players for taking the telecom revolution forward, the Union minister of State for Communications and IT, Dr Shakeel Ahmed has said.


Delivering the valedictory address at India Telecom 2006 in New Delhi, Dr Ahmed said that he accepted the role of the private players in the telecommunications area, which brought the services to the reach of the common man.

“Government-owned telecommunication companies, and the private players have a responsibility now and that it is to bridge the digital divide,” he said adding that there was still a long way to go.

The private players and government-owned companies should supplement and compete with each other, so that the fruits of the telecom boom reaches the unreached,” the minister said.


Recalling the 10-point agenda laid down by Union Communications and IT minister, Dayanidhi Maran, at the CEOs roundtable during the beginning of the conference, Dr Ahmed reiterated that 2007 would be the year of the broadband. The minister also hinted at the government taking initiatives to make the India a manufacturing hub for telecom products.

Earlier, talking on the occasion, Rajan Bharti Mittal, joint managing director of Bharti Enterprises and also chairperson of Infrastructure Committee with FICCI said that the government should come forward for sharing of infrastructure with the private players for taking the broadband penetration to rural areas.

“The challenge involved in taking broadband is the lack of infrastructure. With technology moving from wired to wireless, government-owned telecom companies, such as the BSNL should start using the copper wires, which had been laid years ahead of the telecom boom. They should also start sharing the infrastructure with private players. Lets go to the market, and compete, and the market will decide,” he said.


Mittal also welcomed the availability of the USO fund for private telecom companies, which he said would help in taking the telecom revolution to the rural areas.

D S Mathur, secretary with Department of Information Technology, said that with convergence of voice, data and video becoming imminent, the Internet penetration was set to grow in the coming years, both in urban and rural areas.

Calling India Telecom 2007 as a good beginning he informed that within one year 85 per cent of rural India would be networked and in next two to three years about 90 per cent would be networked for enabling the broadband and wireless penetration.


“These will obliterate the digital divide,” he added.

In his concluding remarks, Sanjeev Aga, chairperson of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said that the business models would have to change with the telecom revolution and the GDP growth going ahead of time.

Delivering the vote of thanks, BB Anand, president of Association of Unified telecom Service Providers of India (AUTSPI), said that with the growing numbers in telecom subscription, telecom would transform rural India, on the lines of the green revolution of 1970s.

India Telecom would be annual event from next year, spanning for four days, it was announced.

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