The dream of Indians to get faster internet seems to be a step closer, with TRAI planning to frame recommendations to enhance broadband speed from minimum 512 kbps to up to 2 Mbps. The announcement came soon after TRAI made it mandatory for the wirelines to offer a minimum download speed of 512 Kbps as broadband.
For wireline services, TRAI has planned to improve the optical fibre cable penetration in the country. Towards the purpose, the regulator will lay guidelines to provide Right of Way (RoW) to telecom companies at cheaper cost. This will facilitate optical fibre cables at Fibre to the Home (FTTH) level to the interiors of the country, which is already far behind in optic fibre cable penetration when compared to its parallels, China and Brazil. The guideline will also ensure that the telecom companies are less interfered by the state government and the civic bodies in laying fibre optic cables. Connecting households with optic fibre cable will result in lesser dependence on deficient spectrum, largely used for mobile services.
For wireless services, the new TRAI recommendations will focus on methods to upgrade mobile towers through which the telecom services are delivered. Earlier, in National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP 2012), the Government had promised “Broadband for all” at a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps from the current 512 kbps by 2015. TRAI even redefined broadband as a data connection with a minimum speed of 512Kbps. Government was also striving ahead with National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) to provide 100Mbps speed to gram panchayats across villages by December 2016.
However, TRAI now feels that NOFN and an additional 10 lakh kilometre optic fibre cables will be insufficient for a massive country like India. The additional spectrum gained by the telecom operators from the recently held auction too will remain short to provide decent speed for broadband and mobile services. For the companies to improve their services, more BTS towers need to be installed. This will cost the telecom companies an additional of at least, Rs. 1,00,000, which the telecom companies do not want to spend.
Hence, TRAI feels that the best way to improve wireless services, is by reducing people’s dependence on it. This is possible only by strengthening the fibre optic cable networks across the country.