|Bits and Pieces
Thursday, October 14, 2004 India announces Broadband Policy
It's finally out. After months of dilly-dallying, the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, headed by Shri Dayanidhi Maran, announced India's exclusive Broadband Policy today (Oct14).
> The prime consideration guiding the Policy includes affordability and reliability of Broadband services, incentives for creation of additional infrastructure, employment opportunities, induction of latest technologies, national security and bring in competitive environment so as to reduce regulatory interventions <
Noting in its report that broadband, in its true sense, had not taken off in India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) suggested formulation of a broadband policy. Needless to say, such measures have to pass through rough times.
. DoT and Dept of Space had their own set of recommendations.
. Reliance Infocomm, a major player, (which has Microsoft's IPTV deal at stake) suspected favoritism for TATAs, on TRAI's part.
. "We did not expect so many problems. The response from the Union Finance Ministry is awaited and then it will go to the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure headed by the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, for approval. We had no idea that so much of processing was involved," said official sources, when asked about the delay in announcing the policy.
In Asia, India's enterprising competitors have been enjoying broadband benefits in a big way.
The number of hot new high-bandwidth websites coming from SKorea is a pointer. Korea has 2500 connections per 10,000 and China has 150 against India's TWO. >
"China is leading the world in the number of subscribers to high-speed net through phone lines..." - BBC
TRAI predicts a 2 crore subscriber base in the next six years (obviously not taking bureaucratical delays into account). MTNL-BSNL Combo is targeting "2 million connections by the end of 2005". In Chennai, SCV and Hathway partnership swayed wildly. Do not know what happened to that.
The larger populace has been kept in the dark for a long time. With the policy in place, let's hope that the changes that shook the cellular world in India happens to broadband internet too.
MIT management professor Thomas Malone on why higher spending on communications is a good thing.
Wi-Max could be the solution for the "last-mile" problem, but innovations such as these (implemented in Tempe, Arizona) do not go unnoticed. BBC carried a report on one such off-beat effort in Rural India, sometime back. [ MTNL plans Wi-Fi and Wi-Max services ]
> Is Wi-Max, a hype?
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