India is pushing for the growth of the local telecom ecosystem. The government has even asked the struggling Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a state-owned telecom company, to launch 4G using local tech. However, a roadblock that almost took a lot of time for BSNL to address was getting decent-proven technology that could help it in launching 4G. Since that was missing, the whole process took a lot more time than it should have taken from the business perspective of BSNL.
The government is now aiming to boost the local tech ecosystem. This would ensure that Indian companies would not have to look outwards to get technology or equipment. To boost local research & development (R&D) in the telecom sector, the government came up with the Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF). This is a fund that was announced by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) on October 1, 2022. The development was slightly overshadowed on the day because it was the same day when PM Narendra Modi also launched 5G in India.
What is TTDF or Telecom Technology Development Fund?
USOF, a body under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), announced the TTDF, which aims to fund R&D in rural-specific communication technology applications. In addition, the fund would also promote indigenous manufacturing, aim to reduce imports and boost export opportunities as well as aid in the creation of Intellectual Property (IP).
With this new fund, USOF is targeting to also develop new standards which can meet the requirements countrywide and create an ecosystem where local companies can thrive in research, design, prototyping and more. Indian entities will be able to get grants from this scheme to build indigenous technologies tailor-made to meet domestic needs.
The government will be allocating 5% of the annual collections from the USOF and making it available for funding the R&D in the telecom sector. DoT will start this with the funds collected in the financial year 2021-22.