India aims for ‘broadband for all’ but Fiber optic implementation behind schedule

The Indian government plans to improve governance via greater Internet access requires broadband connectivity to be available as any other utility like water or electricity, but implementation of the backbone optic fiber is significantly behind schedule, according to the top company executives.

“A challenge to implementing broadband connections across the length and breadth of India would primarily involve the question of who bears the cost. Nevertheless, a parallel slogan to “electricity for all” is “broadband for all” and broadband needs to go the utility way,” said Anand Agarwal, CEO of Sterlite Technologies at India-U.S. Technology Summit in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida.

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He further said that infrastructure could be built on models borrowed from cities like Hong Kong in urban areas, where the government plays the role of a facilitator, after which market forces would take over. In rural areas, the government would need to take the lead, he said.

As per the report, Narendra Modi government expects to spend about 330 billion rupees ($5.4 billion) over the next three years to take broadband Internet access to some 250,000 village centers, based on which private vendors are expected to offer various services in these otherwise hard-to-reach places. A separate network dedicated to government use will also be built.

Also Read : Kerala to be the first state in India with broadband connectivity to all villages

“We need to lay 390 kilometers (244 miles) per day of optic fiber … we are way behind schedule,” said Harish Krishnan, executive director for public affairs and strategic engagements at Cisco’s Indian unit, referring to India’s March 2017 target for building its national optic fiber network.

“ As India attempts to provide last-mile access to some 600,000 villages, wireless broadband will be key, Rao said, adding that connecting a million schools and hundreds of universities would require the laying of nearly three million miles of fiber optics,” said C.S. Rao, President of Reliance Communications.

He further added, “Investment of $100 billion on broadband to provide 400 billion users.” All they spoke about “India at 2020: Delivering the Broadband Promises” in panel discussion at summit.

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