‘Govt. should fa­cil­i­tate in pol­icy mak­ing, pri­vate sec­tor should own net­work to con­nect In­dia seam­lessly via wire­less broad­band’

FICCI Business Digest - - In Focus -

Ra­jeev Chan­drasekhar, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment and Tech­nol­ogy En­trepreneur, has un­der­lined the need for mak­ing high qual­ity Wi-Fi avail­able and ac­ces­si­ble across the coun­try for which it was im­per­a­tive for the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia to part­ner with states and pri­vate ser­vice providers in the space. He rec­om­mends that the gov­ern­ment could be own­ers of the fun­da­men­tal pol­icy mak­ing but the owner of the net­work should be pri­vate sec­tor to make the ini­tia­tive a suc­cess.

While de­liv­er­ing the in­au­gu­ral ad­dress at the 'Wire­less Broad­band Vi­sion Fo­rum' on the theme 'In­dia, Wi-Fi and Smart City De­vel­op­ment', in New Delhi on Au­gust 13, 2015, or­gan­ised by FICCI in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Global Wi-Fi Broad­band Al­liance, to ad­vance the pol­icy ob­jec­tives of the Dig­i­tal In­dia pro­gram, Chan­drasekhar said that it would be ap­pro­pri­ate to pro­vide Wi-Fi ac­cess free of cost to a se­lected fac­tion who de­serves it rather than mak­ing it free for all. He added that any pro­gram started with the aim of pro­vid­ing free ser­vice suf­fers from sub­op­ti­mal fa­cil­i­ties and poor qual­ity.

Chan­drasekhar stated that Dig­i­tal In­dia has tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits and can have a mul­ti­plier ef­fect on coun­try's pro­duc­tiv­ity and GDP. He added that In­dia's in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion stands at a low level to­day, hence it pro­vides a huge op­por­tu­nity for the gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor to make In­dia con­nected via in­ter­net.

Speak­ing on 'Delhi Wi-Fi - A Smart City Per­spec­tive from In­dia', in his key­note ad­dress, Ashish Khetan, Vice Chair­man, Delhi Di­a­logue Com­mis­sion, Gov­ern­ment of NCT of Delhi, said that it was one of the big­gest chal­lenges for the Delhi Gov­ern­ment to draft a pol­icy for pro­vid­ing seam­less ac­cess and qual­ity ser­vice of Wi-Fi in Delhi at an af­ford­able cost. He added that within a few weeks the Re­quest for Pro­posal (RFP) would be fi­nalised and placed in the pub­lic do­main.

Khetan said that the gov­ern­ment pro­poses to pro­vide speed of 1 Mbps and 1GB data down­load free for the cit­i­zens of Delhi. In the first phase of the pro­gramme, all Delhi col­leges, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment and pri­vate, would be en­abled with pub­lic Wi-Fi. Sub­se­quently, in the sec­ond phase, all vil­lages in Delhi would have Wi-Fi fa­cil­ity and in the third phase the fo­cus would be on con­nect­ing unau­tho­rised colonies of Delhi.

Shrikant Shen­wai, CEO, Wire­less Broad­band Al­liance (WBA), said that end-user fo­cus for next gen­er­a­tion Wi-Fi ex­pe­ri­ence means mak­ing it eas­ier for users to find and ac­cess hotspot ser­vice lo­ca­tions; of­fer­ing a user ex­pe­ri­ence that is sim­ple and con­sis­tently bet­ter; and al­low­ing seam­less in­ter­op­er­abil­ity, across de­vices, op­er­a­tors & net­works and WBA aims to achieve this by bring­ing the stake­hold­ers on the same plat­form.

Vi­rat Bha­tia, Chair­man, FICCI Communications & Dig­i­tal Econ­omy Com­mit­tee, said that to ad­vance the pol­icy ob­jec­tives of the Dig­i­tal In­dia pro­gram, the Wire­less Broad­band Vi­sion Fo­rum fa­cil­i­tated a thought-pro­vok­ing di­a­logue that ex­plored the op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with de­liv­er­ing trans­for­ma­tional con­nec­tiv­ity for the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia's 100 Smart Ci­ties Pro­gram. .

R to L: Ashish Khetan, Vice Chair­man, Delhi Di­a­logue Com­mis­sion, Gov­ern­ment of NCT of Delhi; Ra­jeev Chan­drasekhar, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment and Tech­nol­ogy En­trepreneur; Dr. Arbind Prasad, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, FICCI and Shrikant Shen­wai, CEO, Wire­less Broad­band Al­liance.

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