5 Bar­ri­ers to Broad­band Adop­tion in In­dia |

As the tele­com in­dus­try in In­dia pre­pares for the next level of growth through new dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, let us look at the chal­lenges that pre­vented the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an ef­fec­tive broad­band net­work in In­dia in the past

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Just months af­ter In­dia watched the grand un­veil­ing of the am­bi­tious Dig­i­tal In­dia and Smart Cities 100 ini­tia­tives, an in­dus­try re­port ranked In­dian tele­com in­dus­try the worst in Asia Pa­cific in terms of broad­band speed. “Will high-speed broad­band re­main a myth in my life­time?” asks an av­er­age In­dian who has been frus­trated with the 3G/4G ser­vices avail­able on his mo­bile net­work. If we com­pare the broad­band sub­scriber fig­ure be­tween In­dia and its peers, it be­comes clear that ru­ral broad­band will re­main a dream for In­dia at least for the next 5 years. With just 120.88 mil­lion sub­scribers, which in­clude wire­less and wire­line ser­vices, In­dia’s broad­band cus­tomer base com­prises just 26% of 3G and 4G sub­scriber base of China Mo­bile alone. As per ‘Mea­sur­ing the In­for­ma­tion So­ci­ety Re­port’ of 2015 pub­lished by ITU. In­dia is ranked 135 in both the ac­cess sub in­dex and use sub-in­dex, which are ba­si­cally mea­sures for Tele­com In­fra & pen­e­tra­tion in­di­ca­tors.

As the tele­com in­dus­try in In­dia pre­pares for the next level of growth through new dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, let us look at the chal­lenges that pre­vented the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an ef­fec­tive broad­band net­work in In­dia in the past.

Reg­u­la­tory hur­dles:

Over the last decade since the ad­vent of broad­band, the reg­u­la­tory author­ity in In­dia missed sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties to for­mu­late a proac­tive broad­band strat­egy that could help ad­dress the dig­i­tal di­vide and boost the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth. World Bank es­ti­mates that a 10% in­crease in broad­band pen­e­tra­tion ac­cel­er­ates eco­nomic growth by 1.38% in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Reg­u­la­tory hur­dles apart, In­dian tele­com sec­tor was hard hit by the on­slaught of mul­ti­ple is­sues and pro­ce­dural de­lays typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with pub­lic of­fices. Tel­cos who got their

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