TRAI Says 500 Million Can Get Broadband via Cable TV

TRAI Says 500 Million Can Get Broadband via Cable TV

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R S Sharma on Thursday said broadband connectivity to 500 million people can be provided in a short span of time by levering the already present digital cable TV network.

"We have made a number of recommendation and our recommendations if followed could transform our ranking which is abysmally low," Sharma said at Skoch Summit.

He said that there are 100 million homes in India connected with digital cable TV. "The cable TV connection will become digital. If you have 100 million homes where you take this digital. These 100 million homes with same pipe with little bit of 'upgradation' can be used for delivery of robust broadband connectivity," Sharma said.

He said that recommendations in this regard have been sent by TRAI. "We have been following it with the Department of Telecom and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Yesterday that pipe was used for providing cable TV service, it can now also transfer bits and bytes. That can immediately provide connectivity to 500 million people," Sharma said.

Sharma added that an average cable TV home is estimated to have 5 members. Wireless or mobile broadband subscriber in September grew by was 173.87 million and fixed line broadband connections were at 17.84 million.

Government under National Telecom Policy 2012 has set a target to connect 600 million people by the year 2020 at minimum 2Mbps download speed.

Sharma said that shortage of fixed line infrastructure has led to a crunch in bandwidth because most of the people are connected with mobile phones.

"Robust bandwidth usage is not done while moving. Mobile wireless can never be reliable. It is not very robust," Sharma said.

He said that everywhere in the world broadband speed is defined as Internet connection with 2Mbps but a connection with 512Kbps Internet speed is called broadband here.

"In the Telecom Policy of 2012, we have [an] open sky policy declared there whereby we are saying that satellite bandwidth shall be available in a very free market manner. Unfortunately, it remains clogged with Department of Space. Antrix Corporation, they canalised this entire bandwidth provision," Sharma said.

As a result, India gets connectivity bandwidth from satellites at a very high rate. "This [satellite connectivity] is needed in area we can't lay optic fibre like Jammu and Kashmir, North East. A policy change will make satellite bandwidth available in free market manner. It should be another way to increase supply of broadband in our country," he said.


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Further reading: Broadband, Internet, India, TRAI, DoT
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