The Indian government is finally mulling over increasing minimum broadband speed from the current 512 kbps (kilobits per second) to 2 mbps (megabits per second). The government has revised the minimum internet speed in August 2014 from 256 kbps to 512 kbps, which is now being considered as “abysmally slow”.
“I propose to take up the matter with the communications ministry. We will consider laying down a policy for increasing the minimum broadband speed from the current levels,” IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad quoted as saying by TOI.
The former telecom minister said that he expected Indian telecom operators to “appreciate” the move, which will now be taken up with the various stakeholders. Indian telecom regulator, Trai, has already made a recommendation to improve broadband speed through its May 24 consultation paper. “Speed must be above a certain threshold to enable use of desired applications such as video viewing or gaming… Higher electronic communication speeds are relevant in knowledge-based communities. This is because it spurs productivity, and hence increases competitiveness,” the regulator had said.
Faster wireline and wireless internet speed will increase India’s competitiveness in all spheres of the economy while ensuring equal and inclusive growth across urban and rural areas, the report said, adding that the thriving start-up eco-system and delivery of a variety of consumer services through mobile phone apps are among the reasons behind the push for upgrading the minimum internet speed.
India has the slowest average internet connection in Asia at 2.8 Mbps per second as of December 2015 while the global average was 6.3 Mbps, according to Akamai’s State of Internet report. A separate report said that India had around 330 million fixed and mobile internet subscriptions as of December 2015. The fixed and mobile internet subscriptions will witness a growth of around 20% over the next five years, taking the total subscriptions to around 730 million by 2020.