Broadband as a Driver
Broadband has emerged beyond a source of infotainment and has risen in stature across the world. As per a World Bank study, a 10% increase in broadband penetration leads to a rise of 1.38% in the economic growth of a country. This direct correlation between GDP and broadband demands that as much as the penetration can be increased widening the footprints of broadband in the economy, it is going to have a positive bearing on the GDP.
Moreover, as we see the transition of digitization of services taking place where everything from education to healthcare to retail is happening over Internet, it means that the implications are on other sectors as well and not only on the communications and IT.
G2C service digital delivery is a key program being implemented by the government. Be it the social sectors of education and healthcare to the public sectors of financial inclusion, subsidy management and public distribution of food and utility services, Broadband is emerging as the key enabler.
Education and healthcare are two priority sectors where we have access imbalance among rural versus urban areas. Broadband can make quality education and healthcare available to people living in rural and remote areas where the physical infrastructure might be otherwise underdeveloped.
The futuristic views of connected societies and people are all spoked around reliable and fast connectivity of Internet services.
Revisit the definition of Broadband in terms of minimum speed thresholds and augment it as per the global standards. The broadband in India has to be at par with broadband elsewhere. It is recommended that minimum speed be defined as 2 MBPS and at least 100 MBPS for on-demand Broadband.
The National Telecom Policy of 2012 has objectively set goals for Broadband. There is a need for developing and implementing an action plan to realize these. This will help private entities also to prioritize their business objectives for India accordingly.
Broadband cuts across different industry and social sectors. It is important that while Broadband is nurtured in the country, it is not seen as a plain pipe service, but in conjunction with the overlying services that will be provisioned or created in due course of time.
There have to be use cases built. There is a need to focus on creation of content that would be consumed over the Broadband services. India being a land of languages and cultures, with very wide demographic diversity, calls for replication of the same in the digital arena as well. For the same, creation of content in regional languages should be promoted so that more and more people find reasons to connect on to Broadband that would later increase their engagement with the digital assets available.
If broadband penetration can increase from 150 million to 600 million, there could be a 4-5 percent positive impact on GDP of our country