The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 17 April 2015 issued recommendations on broadband growth. It released recommendations on Delivering Broadband Quickly: What do we need to do?
The Authority in its recommendations raised concerns about the slow penetration and adoption of broadband in the country.
The recommendations were following
•WPC should be converted into an independent body by de-linking it from the present Department of Telecommunications (DoT) hierarchy and either converting it into a statutory body responsible to Parliament or transferring it to an existing statutory body.
•Align spectrum bands with globally harmonized bands to achieve interference-free coexistence and economies of scale. Current availability of spectrum is about 40% of that available in comparable countries elsewhere.
•There is a need to lay down a clear roadmap for spectrum management which should state the requirement and availability of spectrum for each LSA as well as for the whole country. This roadmap should be made available publicly to ensure transparency.
•There is an urgent need for audit by an independent agency of all allocated spectrum both commercial as well as spectrum allocated to various PSUs/Government organizations. This ought to be a national priority and must be undertaken within 3 months.
Right of Way (RoW)
•Single-window clearance is an imperative for all Right of Way (RoW) proposals at the level of the States and in the Central Government.
•All such clearances have to be time-bound so that Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and infrastructure providers can move rapidly to project execution.
•There is a need for enunciating a National RoW Policy to ensure uniformity in costs and processes.
National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)
•Project implementation on Centre State Public-Private Partnership (CSPPP) mode by involving State Governments and the private sector
•Award of EPC (turnkey) contracts by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) to private parties through international competitive bidding needs to be planned. Such contracts can be given region-wise with clear requirements for interconnection with other networks, as well as infrastructure sharing with other operators who would like to utilize this network. A commercial model around this will need to be suitably deployed.
•Single-window, time-bound clearance should be encouraged for installation of towers to ensure the rapid development of national networks.
• Extensive consumer awareness and education programmes should be organized so that consumers fully understand the latest scientific information on EMF radiation and its potential impact on health.
Fixed line Broadband
•To promote fixed line Broadband (BB), the license fee on the revenues earned from fixed line BB should be exempted for at least 5 years.
•The infrastructure of PSUs is lying unutilized and thus they should be mandated to unbundle their network and allow sharing of outside plant (OSP).
Cable Television (CATV)
•Cable operators should be allowed to function as resellers of ISP license holders to enable them to take advantage of their cable network to provide BB.
•Implementation of digitization of cable services to tier 2 and tier 3 cities in a time-bound manner.
•Separation of Licensor, Regulator and Operator functions in the satellite space domain to conform to best international practices of free markets.
•The issue of coordination of additional spectrum in the 2500-2690 MHz band with Department of Space (DoS) needs to be addressed urgently, so that this band can be optimally utilized for commercial as well as strategic purposes.
Hosting of Content in India
•The Government needs to encourage local and foreign companies to build ‘Data Centre Parks’ on the lines of industrial parks, SEZs etc. by providing them land, infrastructure and uninterrupted power supply at affordable rates.
•Governments, both Central and State shall have to act as model users and anchor tenants through delivery of e-Government services including e-education, e-governance, m-health, m-banking and other such services.
•Schools are the ideal and convenient point for early initiation to BB services. Government schools in the rural and remote areas can be provided subsidy from the USOF for BB connectivity.
•Cost of CPE (desktop/laptop/tabs etc.) are major barriers to the adoption of BB services. TSPs may be allowed to offer CPE bundled tariff schemes. Revenues from such offers ought to be exempted from the applicable license fee at least for a certain number of years (say for three years).
Broadband penetration and adoption of broadband in India
•India ranks 125th in the world for fixed broadband penetration with only 1.2 per 100 inhabitants having access to fixed broadband; the global average is 9.4 per 100 inhabitant.
•In terms of household penetration within developing countries, India is ranked 75th with a penetration of 13%.
•In the wireless broadband space too, India is ranked 113th with a penetration of 3.2 per 100 inhabitants.
•In terms of ICT access, ICT use and ICT skills, India ranks 129th out of total 166 countries. Indonesia (106), Sri Lanka (116), Sudan (122), Bhutan (123), Kenya (124) are ranked above India.
•India is categorized in the Least Connected Countries Group of 42 countries that fall within the low IDI group.
•Also, Ministry of Information Technology and Broadcasting has a target of 175 million broadband connections by 2016 and 600 million by 2020.
When: 17 April 2015