Road map

Consumers should get at least 512 kbps from January 1.

Speed to be upgraded to 2Mbps by January 2015.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Dec. 8

To boost broadband penetration in the country, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has suggested rolling out an optical fibre cable network across the country at a cost of Rs 60,000 crore.

TRAI said that consumers should get a minimum download speed of 512 kbps from January 1, which will be graded up all the way to 2Mbps by January 2015. Current minimum broadband speed is 256 kbps.

According to TRAI, approximately 25.45 lakh km of fresh fibre will have to be laid across the country to meet bandwidth requirements. Telecom operators have rolled out 7.5 lakh km of optical cables but these are limited to Tier-1 cities and inter-State connectivity. There is hardly any coverage at the village level.

The new network, to be rolled out in two phases by 2013, will connect all habitation with population of 500 and above.

TRAI has suggested the creation of a National Optical Fibre Agency (NOFA), an autonomous body under the Central Government. At the State level, a State Optical Fibre Agency would be formed with 51 per cent equity held by NOFA and 49 per cent by the respective State government. The project will be financed by the Universal Service Obligation fund and grants from the Government. TRAI has set a target of 75 million broadband connections by 2012 and 160 million connections by 2014.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 9, 2010)
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