Broadband Investment Should Be Encouraged In India
Investments in broadband need to be encouraged and facilitated to ensure the benefits of broadband to business and society under the government’s Digital India initiative, says Swedish telecom firm Ericsson.
“Mobile broadband will be the platform on which the ‘Digital India’ vision can be delivered. Wide deployment, availability and affordability of broadband will enable the country to bridge the digital divide and facilitate economic growth,” Chris Houghton, head of region at Ericsson said at a joint seminar organized by Ericsson and COAI.
According to Houghton, the mobile broadband infrastructure in India needs to be expanded on the back of a broad based 3G roll out, 4G introduction and preparedness for 5G. To fulfill the Indian government’s vision for broadband inspired growth, operators will need access to more spectrum and will need to invest in new network capabilities, he said.
Rajan Mathews, Director General, COAI, said, “The policy framework must ensure that operators are encouraged and have business case to invest in the networks so that services like commerce, banking, education, health and entertainment can be reliably delivered to large masses of India.”
Herein experts believe that the government has a key role to play in ensuring a policy framework that facilitates more efficient broadband deployments. “Even as a policy of minimal regulations is encouraged to ensure innovation, consistency in policy is a necessary building block to encourage investment by operators,” stated Ulf Pehrsson, Head of Government & Industry Relations, Ericsson.
According to him, some of the global best practices that India could consider for implementation could be harmonized global spectrum that is wide, contiguous and in both low and high frequency bands; fair and non-discriminating regulation; network cooperation on commercial rather than regulated terms and network licenses that are neither service nor technology-specific.
According to experts, digitalization is transforming industries and changing consumer habits. Mobile broadband has become a platform for innovation which is creating new revenue streams. To achieve high level of broadband penetration and deliver the benefits of digitalization, additional spectrum would need to be made available in India. It is the basic resource required for building efficient networks able to serve large numbers of subscribers generating large amounts of traffic.
India must think long term in terms of laying out its national broadband policy so that supply side constraints are managed in such a manner that 600 million broadband subscribers can be serviced by 2020, believe Ericsson experts.
Even as network convergence is happening, fixed and mobile are becoming one full service broadband network and the Networked Society is becoming a reality. Widespread internet connectivity is driving change for individuals and enabling innovation and business transformation. A holistic approach and long term approach is needed for the regulatory framework, they said.
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