Best Practices by Other Countries
Cities like Stockholm in Sweden, Seoul in South Korea, Portland and New York in USA and Singapore have used various models of public-private partnerships to build broadband infrastructure.
Successful implementations in Sweden (By 2010, near ubiquitous access to 2 MBPS service; 40% of households with access to 100 MBPS connections by 2015 and 90% by 2020), United Kingdom (By 2012, 2 MBPS service to all households) and Germany (75% of households with high-speed broadband access at transmission rates of at least 50 MBPS by 2014) are publicly stated policy goals for broadband plan worldwide.
Malaysia started Digital Economy Corporation in 1996 to move higher GDP contributor sectors like manufacturing first to the newer and latest technologies to reduce costs and increase productivity. On the Broadband front, in 2008, Malaysia started HSBP (High Speed Broadband Program Phase 1) that was a PPP between the government and the incumbent operator Telekom Malaysia where the government put the seed capital over which the operator created services and made the project sustainable by ploughing back the returns. With this project, Malaysia has today near 70% Broadband penetration with average speed of 7.5 MBPS.
All the global implementations hint towards the quintessential role of private entities to drive infrastructure upgrade for Broadband.
Though it is prudent to understand how other countries have achieved higher Broadband penetrations, the uniqueness of India in several ways makes her distinct than other countries. Therefore, while contemplating use of a technology, business model or policies to be administered, India should go in her unique and most suited way rather than adopting acquired solutions.
Government should take the primary role in provisioning and enablement of Broadband infrastructure across the country. However, there should be a Public-Private partnership model adopted to spur the growth and investments, as was done in case of highways and airports.
In certain countries, the role of local municipal bodies has been very important and proactive. Now with the smart cities coming up, there should be deeper involvement of municipal and other urban planning bodies in the scaling up of Broadband infrastructure and services in cities.
It is suggested that technology versus potential use case mapping be done considering factors including topography, geography and socio-economic profile of the region/area in question. This would help in identifying the various technologies that could be alternatives available for achieving a goal. Also, this would promote the adoption of best technology available among several alternatives.
Villages and tier 2 & 3 cities are not accessing through internet, just because it is slow and unreliable. High quality broadband can change all that
In many tier 3 towns of India the doctor : population ratio is like that of sub-Saharan Africa. Broadband is the only solution to enhance access to medical services there
The industry and the government must work together to ensure that telecom infrastructure is future proof. We cannot change and upgrade it every few years