In­dia is be­low Bhutan in broad­band reach: TRAI

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

In­dia is ranked be­low Bhutan and Sri Lanka in terms of broad­band pen­e­tra­tion and the multi-lay­ered struc­ture in­volved in the de­ci­sion mak­ing for the sec­tor needs to be over­hauled, tele­com reg­u­la­tor TRAI said to­day.

“In­dia ranks 125th in the world for fixed broad­band pen­e­tra­tion. Some of our neigh­bours like Bhutan and Sri Lanka are ahead of us. We need to se­ri­ously think about it,” TRAI Chair­man Rahul Khullar said while shar­ing de­tails of rec­om­men­da­tions on the sub­ject of ‘De­liv­er­ing Broad­band Quickly’.

To pro­mote the use of fixed-line broad­band, TRAI also pro­posed that the li­cence fee on the rev­enues earned from fixed line should be ex­empted for 5 years.

In the wire­less or mo­bile broad­band seg­ment, In­dia is ranked at 113th with a pen­e­tra­tion of 3.2 per 100 in­hab­i­tants.

The reg­u­la­tor also sug­gested the need to re­vamp gov­ern­ment bod­ies in­volved in de­ci­sion mak­ing that im­pact spread of broad­band in­clud­ing that of Wire­less Plan­ning Com­mis­sion (WPC) — cus­to­dian of spec­trum at Depart­ment of Tele­com.

TRAI said WPC should be con­verted into an in­de­pen­dent body by delink­ing it from DoT and sug­gested that it can be con­verted into a statu­tory body re­port­ing to Par­lia­ment or any other ex­ist­ing statu­tory body.

The reg­u­la­tor has said that multi-lay­ered struc­ture for de­ci­sion mak­ing, for Na­tional Op­ti­cal Fi­bre Net­work (NOFN), is not suit­able and struc­ture needs im­me­di­ate over­haul.

NOFN project aims to spread broad­band across 2.5 lakh vil­lage pan­chay­ats by the end of 2016 but has missed its tar­get of com­plet­ing roll out in first 50,000 pan­chay­ats by March 2015.

The reg­u­la­tor has also called for an au­dit of spec­trum held by all the bod­ies in­clud­ing public sec­tor com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion to check if it is be­ing used ef­fi­ciently.

The reg­u­la­tor said present us­age of spec­trum avail­able with gov­ern­ment agen­cies should be re­viewed, start­ing within 6 months, so as to iden­tify the pos­si­ble ar­eas where spec­trum can be re­farmed for ef­fi­cient use.

TRAI ex­pressed con­cern on gov­ern­ment de­lay­ing guide­lines on spec­trum trad­ing and shar­ing say­ing that “it is strongly urged that a de­ci­sion is taken no later than 3 months from now.”

It also rec­om­mended that the ca­ble op­er­a­tors should be al­lowed to func­tion as re­sellers of in­ter­net ser­vice provider li­cence and digi­ti­sa­tion of ca­ble ser­vices should be im­ple­mented in tier 2 and 3 cities in a time­bound man­ner.

TRAI said that the gov­ern­ment needs to en­cour­age lo­cal and for­eign com­pa­nies to build data cen­tre parks on the lines of industrial parks and SEZs.

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