Government Seeking Ways to Increase Utilisation of Broadband

Government Seeking Ways to Increase Utilisation of Broadband

Concerned about underutilisation of broadband capacity, the government on Friday sought suggestions from the industry to enhance its usage - currently estimated to be at around 50 percent.

"Whatever infrastructure is available today in broadband, much of it is in government sector. Most of it is not being used. Hardly 50-60 percent of [the total] capacity is being used," Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg said at i-Bharat event organised by industry body Ficci.

"We have to do lot of work even to make this benefit available to the people," he said, inviting suggestions from industry to enhance the use of the broadband infrastructure.

"What private and government sector can jointly do to see how can we use most of it, wherever it has reached. At least, it has reached the block level," Garg said.

He added that the government and other stakeholders have to find the reason for underutilisation of broadband by the private sector "whether it is cost, speeds of connectivity or is it devices that are very costly".

(Also See: Airtel Customers May Have to Pay More for Their Calls)

Garg said the government is working to connect all the 2.5 lakh panchayats with high speed broadband network but stakeholders need to ensure that the new infrastructure being laid is utilised by people in the rural areas.

"In coming three years all 2.5 lakh gram panchayat will be connected from their block headquarters with broadband which will give them speed of minimum 100Mbps (megabit per second). If it reaches to villages and it is not used then its maintenance will be also very costly affair," Garg said.

Department of Electronics and IT (Deity) Joint Secretary Rajendra Kumar said the government is ready to provide infrastructure required to enhance utilisation but still for some reason initiatives have not achieved the desired impact.

"Out of 252 planned projects, 222 are operational. It is a success. We now need transformation. There is need to integrate services. We must provide core IT infrastructure on demand in plug-and-play fashion so that they can focus on operation development and not on creating infrastructure," Kumar said.

The government has plans to set-up National E-governance Academy, knowledge portal on e-governance and enhance usage of social media platform, he added.


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Further reading: Broadband, Ficci, Government, Telecom, i-Bharat
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