TRAI sets out the idea of developing a National Broadband Plan

A regulation to control unsolicited commercial calls/messages on mobile phones will be finalised by this month-end, while a national broadband plan with the aim of reaching every home by 2020 will be ready by October-end, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman J.S. Sarma.

Talking to reporters after TRAI held its first ‘Open house discussion on national broadband plan' with stakeholders here on Monday, he said the TRAI finalised the report and the “necessary regulation” would be in place by September-end. It would come into effect immediately after the announcement.

He said studies have proved that broadband utilisation had tremendous effect on gross domestic product (GDP). A 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration accounted for 1.38 percentage point increase in per capita GDP growth in developing economies.

Although the National Broadband Policy of 2004 envisaged 20 million broadband connections by 2010, only 50 per cent was achieved with the country having 10 million broadband users at present.

Mr. Sarma said TRAI had set out the idea of developing a National Broadband Plan by using different technologies to ensure broadband access to at least 100 million homes by 2014.

The plan would seek to achieve the objective through telecom, internet and cable operators.

Issues such as definition of minimum speed of broadband, the type of spectrum to be allocated for wireless broadband, separate broadband speeds for urban and rural areas, the charges being collected by municipalities for giving Right of Way (RoW) permission and the lack of power supply were discussed in the open house. Some of the stakeholders suggested the need for a national telecom infrastructure policy and wanted the proposed National Broadband Plan to be implemented in three phases up to 2020.

Replying to a question, he said number portability for mobiles would be allowed from November 1.