National Broadband Plan by next month: TRAI chief

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Regulations soon to curb unsolicited calls.

Dr J. S. Sarma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, answering queries at the first 'Open House' held in Hyderabad on Monday —
Dr J. S. Sarma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, answering queries at the first 'Open House' held in Hyderabad on Monday —

Our Bureau

Hyderabad, Sept. 6

A regulation to curb the menace of unsolicited call and SMS on your mobile phones will be finalised by the end of September 2010, according to the Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Dr J.S. Sarma.

This will either have ‘Do Call' registry option or ‘Do Not Call Registry', or even both options. Different aspects of this issue are being thrashed out. It will be operational immediately thereafter.

He also said that the National Braodband Plan, with a mission to reach 100 million homes by 2014 and all homes by 2020, will be announced by October end. The number portability will be implemented according to schedule announced, that is on November 1.

Speaking to newspersons after chairing the first Open House discussion on National Broadband Plan here today, Mr Sarma said “the Government and TRAI are keen that the national objective of reaching out broadband connectivity to every home is achieved by 2020. After the National Broadband Plan was initially announced in 2004 setting a target of 20 million homes by 2010, we have barely achieved 9-10 million connections, close to 50 per cent of the targeted growth.”

Various issues relating to rapid expansion of the broadband are being discussed based on the consultative paper released in June. These cover aspects such as what is the right speed for rural and urban areas, right of way for optical fibrecables, last mile issues, spectrum use and allocation among others. Various stakeholders, telcos, cable operators, ISPs have interacted during the Open House and conveyed their concerns and suggestions.

Citing global studies, the TRAI Chairman said that optimum broadband utilisation has tremendous effect on a country's GDP. A 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration accounts for about 1.38 per cent growth in the GDP in developing economies. Therefore, a much more encompassing approach is now being adopted. “Along with one billion projected mobile phone users within few years and a 3G network, and cheaper smart phone options (about Rs.5,000), we expect the broadband penetration to increase rapidly,” he felt.

He said some of the telcos expressed concern about the huge right of way charges in urban areas, citing they require about Rs.82 lakh per km in a city like Mumbai. They wanted to see how this issue could be addressed efficiently.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 7, 2010)
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