Investments in Broadband will be fundamental to achieving the Government’s Vision of Digital India was the Key Message at the ‘India: Broadband for All’ seminar organized by Ericsson and COAI at New Delhi recently. Investments in broadband need to be encouraged and facilitated in India so that the benefits of broadband to business and society can be ensured. “Mobile Broadband will be the platform on which the ‘Digital India’ vision can be delivered. Wide deployment, availability and affordability of broadband will enable the country to bridge the digital divide and facilitate economic growth”, stated Chris Houghton, Head of Region, India, Ericsson, during the inaugural session attended by regulators, government and industry representatives as well as media.
“The Broadband infrastructure in the country needs to be expanded to offer superior coverage, quality and capacity.” said Houghton. To fulfill the Indian government’s vision for broadband inspired growth, operators will need access to more spectrum and will need to invest in new network capabilities. “Further, given that we see the Networked Society taking shape in India as it is in other parts of the world, India needs to prepare and take a more proactive approach on 5G which is expected to be commercialized by 2020”,stated Houghton.
“The policy framework must ensure that operators are encouraged and have business case to invest in the networks so that services like commerce, banking, education, health and entertainment can be reliably delivered to large masses of India,” stated Rajan Mathews, Director General, COAI.
Speaking on the role of Governments in ensuring a policy framework that facilitates more efficient broadband deployments , stated Ulf Pehrsson, Global Head – Government & Industry Relations, Ericsson “Even as a policy of minimal regulations is encouraged to ensure innovation, consistency in policy is a necessary building block to encourage investment by operators. Some of the global best practices that India could consider for implementation could be harmonized global spectrum: wide, contiguous and in both low and high frequency bands; Fair and non-discriminating regulation ; Network cooperation on commercial rather than regulated terms; Neither service nor technology-specific network licenses and Next Generation regulations (Cloud, NFV, SDN, 5G) based on appropriate future-proof market segmentation.
Digitalization is transforming industries and changing consumer habits. Mobile broadband has become a platform for innovation which is creating new revenue streams. To achieve high level of broadband penetration and deliver the benefits of digitalization, additional spectrum would need to be made available in India. It is the basic resource required for building efficient networks able to serve large numbers of subscribers generating large amounts of traffic. India must think long term in terms of laying out its National broadband policy so that supply side constraints are managed in such a manner that 600 Million broadband subscribers can be serviced by the Year 2020.