India’s low broadband penetration a concern: Trai Chairman

Press trust of India

New Delhi, Nov 30: Telecom regulator Trai Wednesday said demonetisation has accelerated digital transactions in the country, but expressed concern over India trailing nations like Singapore and Malaysia at the level of broadband connectivity, a key component of digital infrastructure.

“There is one area where we need to do a lot of work and that area is broadband connectivity,” Trai chairman RS Sharma said. “Broadband penetration in India was 7 per cent based on certain parameters,” according to a white paper, he said at an event on eGovernance and Digital India organised by Assocham.

On the other hand, it had pegged Thailand’s broadband reach at 36 per cent, Singapore’s at 98 and that of Malaysia at 35-36 per cent, he said. India was, in fact, ranked behind Sri Lanka and Vietnam in broadband penetration, he said.

“This is really a matter of concern…We are not in a great shape as far as broadband penetration is concerned …Digital India will have to ride on this infrastructure and if we don’t have robust and reliable infrastructure, we are not going to achieve the objective of digital India, of having a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy,” Sharma said making a strong case for using cable TV for broadband delivery. Broadband through cable TV — beaming into millions of Indian homes — would only require tweaking of the policy and Trai has already given its recommendation to the government in this regard.

“Our ranking will zoom up. There are millions of cable TV homes and by 31 December all these will be digitised. That can be leveraged. In many of developed countries like US and in Europe nearly 50-60 per cent of robust broadband is coming from digital cable TV. We need to do that,” he said.

Highlighting the role that Bharat Net project will play in strengthening the digital infrastructure, he said industry, government and the regulator will have to work together in taking India higher than its ranking of 131-132 among 155 nations in ICT penetration.

On demonetisation being a catalyst for digitisation, Sharma said: “Certainly, in the last two weeks or so there has been an acceleration digital transactions.”

Cashless society or, in the short term less-cash society, is the aim of digital India, he said, adding that “this is accelerating already”.

Both Trai and Telecom Department called for making the mobile short code or USSD facility — used to avail banking services on feature phones – more simple and user-friendly.

“We need to work on push USSD, where the burden of pressing keys and pulling codes should move from the payer to merchant,” Telecom Secretary JS Deepak said.

7,281 total views, 2 views today

recommend to friends
  • gplus
  • pinterest

Recent articles

SPARE THE NATION

PIYUSH ROY Simran’s tanking has put Kangana on weaker footing. It is advantage Hrithik, in the latest turn in their bout. She is predictably silent. She had blown her last trumpet with extra noise when her acting stars shined brighter post … Continue reading

1,833 total views, 1,833 views today

CURSE OF CRAMMING

SHABIHA NUR KHATOON, OP The teaching-learning process in schools is deeply flawed and there is an urgent need to overhaul existing teaching methodologies to discourage students from adopting counterproductive practices that hinder their natural aptitude for learning Movies mirror the … Continue reading

2,056 total views, 2,056 views today

Kane brace helps Spurs thrash Reds

London: Tottenham Hotspur brutally exposed Liverpool’s defensive frailties as Harry Kane plundered two more goals in his side’s 4-1 Premier League romp at the Wembley Stadium where Argentina football great Diego Maradona made a presence, Sunday. In other game, Everton … Continue reading

11,850 total views, 8,473 views today

Brazil, Spain enter semis

Kolkata: Three-time champions Brazil rallied from a goal down as they struck twice in the space of six minutes in the second half to scrape past Germany 2-1 in a thrilling quarterfinal to enter the semifinals of the FIFA U-17 … Continue reading

12,040 total views, 8,480 views today

Comments