Telecom regulator TRAI recently said that India is ranked below Bhutan and Sri Lanka in terms of broadband penetration and the multi-layered structure involved in the decision making for the sector needs to be overhauled.
- India ranks 125th in the world for fixed broadband penetration.
- In the wireless or mobile broadband segment, India is ranked at 113th with a penetration of 3.2 per 100 inhabitants.
Suggestions made by TRAI:
- To promote the use of fixed-line broadband, TRAI proposed that the licence fee on the revenues earned from fixed line should be exempted for 5 years.
- TRAI suggested the need to revamp government bodies involved in decision making that impact spread of broadband including that of Wireless Planning Commission (WPC) — custodian of spectrum at Department of Telecom.
- TRAI said WPC should be converted into an independent body by de-linking it from DoT and suggested that it could be converted into a statutory body reporting to Parliament or any other existing statutory body.
- It has also said that multi-layered structure for decision making, for National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), was not suitable and structure needs immediate overhaul. TRAI has also called for an audit of spectrum held by all the bodies.
- NOFN project aims to spread broadband across 2.5 lakh village panchayats by 2016 but has missed its target of completing roll out in first 50,000 panchayats by March 2015.
Sources: The Hindu.