Fi­bre-based Tech­nolo­gies to be a Key En­abler for Dig­i­tal In­dia: Broad­band In­dia Fo­rum

In­dia’s dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions progress will be im­pacted ad­versely without the im­me­di­ate roll-out of fi­bre across the coun­try

Voice&Data - - CONTENT -

“Al­though In­dia’s mo­bile broad­band story is se­cond to none, it has not been ad­e­quately mir­rored by a sim­i­lar in­crease on wired broad­band. Fi­nally, all mo­bile traf­fic has to be hauled back through fi­bre which is hap­pen­ing very slowly. This is even more im­por­tant be­cause mo­bile traf­fic is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly data heavy and mo­bile spec­trum will not be suf­fi­cient to ad­dress this.” — TV Ra­machan­dran, Pres­i­dent, BIF

Broad­band In­dia Fo­rum (BIF), a think tank for Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion, at the back­drop of the flag­ship Fi­bre to the Home (FTTH) event held in Mum­bai, said that In­dia’s dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions progress will be im­pacted ad­versely without the im­me­di­ate roll-out of fi­bre across the coun­try. In­dia lags on this front cur­rently and ur­gent steps are re­quired to re­dress the sit­u­a­tion. The chal­lenge as re­gards to en­hanc­ing fi­bre in­vest­ments is due to the in­fra­struc­ture providers’ in­abil­ity to se­cure right of way to lay the broad­band fi­bre network across states and lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Some high­lights

• In­dia’s quan­tum of wired broad­band needs to in­crease – In­stead, In­dia has over-re­lied on wire­less broad­band

• ‘Fi­bre like spec­trum is a na­tional re­source. Not just Cen­tre, fi­bre roll­out should be on states’ agenda as it will en­hance their eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness’

• ‘Chal­lenges such as taxes and levies on the in­dus­try, and the po­ten­tial high pric­ing of spec­trum may prove a hin­drance to­wards Tel­cos’ ef­forts to in­vest in fi­bre’: Aruna Sun­darara­jan

Key Goal

One of the key goals of the Na­tional Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Devel­op­ment Pol­icy (NDCP) is en­sur­ing uni­ver­sal broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity at 50 Mbps to ev­ery ci­ti­zen, pro­vid­ing 1 Gbps con­nec­tiv­ity to all gram pan­chay­ats by 2020, and 10 Gbps by 2022 and en­sur­ing con­nec­tiv­ity to all un­cov­ered ar­eas. Fi­bre will play a key role in en­abling this. So far 362,350 km of op­ti­cal fi­bre have been laid (till Au­gust 2019) con­nect­ing 123,840 Gram Pan­chay­ats as part of the gov­ern­ment’s am­bi­tious BharatNet pro­gramme to pro­vide high­speed Broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity.

Fi­bre-based back­haul has still not main­streamed in In­dia. Only ~30% of mo­bile tow­ers have fi­bre en­abled back­haul today as com­pared to 6570% in South Korea, or 75-80% in the US, Japan and China. The gov­ern­ment in­tends to in­crease In­dia’s fi­bre foot­print to 7.5 mil­lion fi­bre kilo­me­tres by 2022. In ad­di­tion, the NDCP aims to fi­breise at least 60% of tele­com tow­ers by 2022.

Speak­ing at the FTTH event, BIF Pres­i­dent TV Ra­machan­dran said, “Al­though In­dia’s mo­bile broad­band story is se­cond to none, it has not been ad­e­quately mir­rored by a sim­i­lar in­crease on wired broad­band. Fi­nally, all mo­bile traf­fic has to be hauled back

through fi­bre which is hap­pen­ing very slowly. This is even more im­por­tant be­cause mo­bile traf­fic is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly data heavy and mo­bile spec­trum will not be suf­fi­cient to ad­dress this. Pri­ori­tis­ing and ac­cel­er­at­ing rights-of-way to en­sure quick fi­bre roll­out as per the NDCP agenda is im­per­a­tive. I look for­ward to all stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the cen­tre, the states, the Tel­cos and af­fil­i­ated in­dus­tries, mak­ing a con­certed ef­fort to­wards-en­hanc­ing the fi­bre network roll-out across the coun­try to com­ple­ment our Dig­i­tal In­dia as­pi­ra­tions.”

Ra­machan­dran also high­lighted that the in­vest­ments In­dia makes in in­creas­ing and op­ti­mis­ing its fi­bre network will play a sig­nif­i­cant role in en­abling In­dia to get ready for the next gen­er­a­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies.

In a pro­lific speech, the Chief Guest at the event, Aruna Sun­darara­jan, former Sec­re­tary-Tele­com & Chair­man, Dig­i­tal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Commission said, “Fi­bre, like spec­trum is a na­tional re­source. The Cen­tre has given it high pri­or­ity and is com­mit­ted to com­plete fib­ri­sa­tion of the coun­try. It is now up to the states to re­alise the im­por­tance of a con­tin­ued and time-bound roll­out and that this will be crit­i­cal to en­hanc­ing their eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness. We need to look no fur­ther than how China has ad­dressed this – in terms of its re­lent­less fo­cus on pri­ori­tis­ing big-ticket in­vest­ments in fixed in­fra­struc­ture. The NDCP clearly high­lights the im­por­tance of speed­ing up the fi­bre roll­out and we need to op­er­a­tionalise this on pri­or­ity to en­able faster up­take of 5G in In­dia or else we risk be­ing left be­hind.”

Sun­darara­jan fur­ther added, “The tel­cos in In­dia fully re­alise the need to de­velop the fi­bre network in­fra­struc­ture in the coun­try to at least 5-6 times of the present ca­pac­ity, in or­der to pro­pel the dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices devel­op­ment in the coun­try. While the tel­cos are clearly in­tent on in­vest­ing in the fi­bre network devel­op­ment, cer­tain chal­lenges such as taxes and levies on the in­dus­try, and the po­ten­tial high pric­ing of spec­trum that is es­sen­tially needed to be ac­quired, may prove a hin­drance to­wards their ef­forts.”

FTTH

Mak­ing her key­note ad­dress at the in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony of the event, Sun­darara­jan also laid em­pha­sis on the fact that the ex­tent of avail­abil­ity of fi­bre to the tow­ers, fi­bre in the last mile and fi­bre to the home would be a key fac­tor in shap­ing the ef­fi­ciency of the dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture in the coun­try. Delv­ing on how FTTH can help In­dia, Ms. Sun­darara­jan spoke about the role FTTH can play to help re­duce the Dig­i­tal di­vide, im­prove cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in de­liv­ery of broad­band en­abled ser­vices, job cre­ation and over­all in­clu­sive growth. The fac­tors re­quired to un­leash full po­ten­tial of dig­i­tal econ­omy are: a) Large avail­abil­ity of af­ford­able fi­bre with ease and sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of pro­ce­dures for de­ploy­ment, b) Avail­abil­ity of ad­e­quate har­monised

spec­trum at an af­ford­able price, c) Re­duced and ra­tio­nalised taxes for the

sec­tor and d) strength­ened com­pe­ti­tion and pric­ing reg­u­la­tion to pre­vent the mo­bile & in­ter­net com­pa­nies from turn­ing into mo­nop­o­lies Broad­band In­dia Fo­rum and Bharat Ex­hi­bi­tions had come to­gether to or­gan­ise this flag­ship event on FTTH (Fi­bre-tothe-Home) that was ti­tled, “Vi­sion of FTTH in In­dia and Cur­rent Trends of FTTH Tech­nol­ogy across the Globe” in Mum­bai. The con­fer­ence en­tailed dis­cus­sions and de­lib­er­a­tions on crit­i­cal top­ics such as the Role of Fi­bre-based Tech­nolo­gies as a Key En­abler for Dig­i­tal In­dia, Key Business Driv­ers & Suc­cess­ful Fu­ture Business Mod­els, and the role that FTTX has played to serve a host of start-ups who range from build­ing prod­ucts, so­lu­tions & ap­pli­ca­tions to solve niche prob­lems typ­i­cal to In­dia. The event wit­nessed par­tic­i­pa­tion from a galaxy of CEOs, CTOs from lead­ing in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions who spoke about the rel­e­vance of FTTH in pro­pel­ling In­dia’s dig­i­tal growth story and how it can com­ple­ment the wire­less tech­nolo­gies by mak­ing op­ti­mum util­i­sa­tion of its re­sources.

“Fi­bre, like spec­trum is a na­tional re­source. The Cen­tre has given it high pri­or­ity and is com­mit­ted to com­plete fib­ri­sa­tion of the coun­try. It is now up to the states to re­alise the im­por­tance of a con­tin­ued and time­bound roll­out and that this will be crit­i­cal to en­hanc­ing their eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness.” — Aruna Sun­darara­jan, former Sec­re­tary-Tele­com & Chair­man, Dig­i­tal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Commission

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.