Investments in Broadband will be fundamental to achieving the Government’s Vision of Digital India was the Key Message at the ‘India: Broadband for All’ seminar organized by Ericsson and COAI at New Delhi. Investments in broadband need to be encouraged and facilitated in India so that the benefits of broadband to business and society can be ensured.
Chris Hougton, Head of Region India, Ericsson stated during the inaugural session: “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. ”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.”
“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,” stated Mr. Rajan Mathews, Director General, COAI.
Speaking on the role of Governments in ensuring a policy framework that facilitates more efficient broadband deployments, stated Mr. Ulf Pehrsson, Global Head – Government & Industry Relations, Ericsson “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. Some of the global best practices that India could consider for implementation could be harmonized global spectrum: wide, contiguous and in both low and high frequency bands; Fair and non-discriminating regulation ; Network cooperation on commercial rather than regulated terms; Neither service nor technology-specific network licenses and Next Generation regulations (Cloud, NFV, SDN, 5G) based on appropriate future-proof market segmentation.
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 the Year 2020.
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.