DoT To Partner With Cable Operators, MSOs To Bring Broadband In Your Homes
The Government of India certainly wants broadband connectivity across every nook and corner of the country. The Digital India vision of PM Modi has some solid plans regarding the broadband reach in every city and town, and massive budget of Rs 1 lakh crore has been allocated for the same.
The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, which was announced in 2011, and a fund of Rs 20,000 crore was allocated to provide broadband connectivity to over 2,00,000 gram panchayats across India.
However, the biggest challenge which this vision and mission faces is last mile connectivity in rural locations. Implementing an infrastructure which supports such high speed connectivity in remote villages and towns can incur huge expenditure, and the economic viability is not feasible.
To overcome this hurdle, Department of Telecom (DoT) has played a masterstroke by indicating their willingness to partner with cable operators and Multiple System Operators (MSOs) to provide last mile broadband connectivity across every village, town and city in India.
Barring few hilly terrains and extreme remote locations such as desert and islands, almost every Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 1 city has been covered by cable operators and MSOs. All DoT needs to do now is leverage this expansive network and provide high speed Internet to all.
As per officials from DoT, meetings with large scale cable operators have already begun and they are excited to be part of this venture. The issues of expenditure and profit sharing is underway, and very soon DoT may announce some good news in this regard.
It is being estimated that funds from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which has been allocated under NOFN project can be used to compensate cable operators and MSOs to initiate this plan, and ensure broadband reaches every household in India.
Infact Andhra Pradesh Government has already announced plans to offer 15 MBPS broadband connectivity for only Rs 150 / month, using the USOF funds under NOFN project, and we have every reason to believe that the same can be implemented nation-wide, with assistance from cable operators and MSOs.
In fact, in countries like Malaysia and Korea, cable operators have been roped in to provide last mile broadband connectivity in rural areas and villages, and we hope that the same gets implemented in India as well.
Alternative (Future) Options for Broadband Connectivity Across India
– Google Fiber: Google has implemented their very own high speed broadband service called Google Fiber in Kankas City, USA, which is slowly expanding into other cities as well. When we last reported, IT officials were planning to meet Google Fiber executives to make it happen in India
– Google’s Project Loon: Can balloons be used to provide broadband access in rural areas? Google X, an innovation platform of Google is making it possible, and they are in talks with Indian telecom officials to make it a possibility in India as well.
– Microsoft’s While Space Technology: Microsoft is developing a technology to use the unused spectrum between two TV channels, and use it for providing Internet access in rural areas. If it gets implemented in India, then it can be a game changer, as it can be the best solution for providing last mile broadband connectivity.