TRAI Wakes Up To The Reality of Broadband In India; Offers 10 Recommendations To The Govt
We have been shouting out loud that Broadband connectivity in India needs some major changes if we want to embrace progress and development: We reported earlier this month that broadband speed in India is among the slowest in Asia; we shared how the expansion of broadband is slow compared to other nations and emphasized the fact that 1 billion Indians are still without Internet.
It seems that TRAI is now slowly but gradually waking up to the reality, and in a major exception, they are even willing to incorporate changes for improvement.
Last year in October, TRAI published a consultation paper titled “Delivering Broadband Quickly: What do we need to do” to ask and consult general public regarding steps which will improve Internet connectivity and ensure faster speeds.
It seems TRAI was shocked to discover some startling facts:
– Against global average of 9.4 per 100 people for broadband connectivity, India has only 1.2/100 people having access to Internet. We are ranked 125 among all nations
– We are behind countries like Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Indonesia and Sudan in terms of reach and expanse of Internet & Communication Technologies (ICT); Infact we are at the bottom of the list of those countries which are least connected.
In order to rectify the existing problems of broadband connectivity and to make sure that Internet access is improved, these are the top 5 recommendations suggested by TRAI to the Government of India:
1) Decentralization of Telecom Governing Bodies:
TRAI has strongly suggested to decentralize the governing bodies which are responsible for implementing telecom policies and framework. Mentioning Wireless and Planning Coordination (WPC) wing of DoT and National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) which are aligned under Department of Telecom (DoT), TRAI has shared that decision making process in these bodies become slow affair, thereby impacting the execution. TRAI said, “The structure needs immediate overhaul.”
2) Increase LSA of Spectrum:
Right now, Indian Govt. utilizes only 40% of what is available in other countries (available spectrum for commercial telecommunication needs) TRAI has suggested to increase this limit to “achieve interference-free coexistence and economies of scale”. TRAI asks the Govt. to hire a third party agency to list all the spectrums which are stuck in different Govt. departments, and release them for commercial usage.
3) Installation of Towers:
As per TRAI, there is a much needed reform in terms of tower installation in various parts of the country. As generally people are afraid of the harmful radiations and ill-effects of erecting such towers near to their homes, a comprehensive educational program needs to be executed to delay the roadblocks.
4) Reduce License Fees:
In one of the most important suggestions, TRAI has asked Govt. to reduce the license fees required for fixed line broadband connection, for a minimum period of 5 years. This is indeed a great suggestion, as fixed broadband can support faster access, and majority of small scale businesses and Internet startups prefer fixed line broadband for their official usage. Telecom players can charge less, thereby giving a major boost to the overall segment.
5) More Data Centers in India:
Again, a very valid suggestion. TRAI has asked the Govt. to encourage enterprises to host their content in India, as against transferring them out of India which normally happens. To do that, we need more data centers and as per TRAI, ‘Data Center Parks’ needs to be encouraged. In case our data is hosted in our country, it will reduce the access time and improve the local economy as well by generating more jobs and employment.
You can view all the 10 recommendations by TRAI here.
In the wake of controversy surrounding Net Neutrality and Freedom of Internet, this 10 pointer recommendation suggested by TRAI is certainly one of the brighter development to have emerged.
TRAI has invited general public for suggestions pertaining to net neutrality and plans to charge access of OTTs (Over The Top services) differently as well. We strongly suggest all to check out the recommendations and reply them in the most honest manner.
It seems that a positive change is underway within the telecom world, we need to support it.