Draft aims to achieve 175 million broadband connections by 2017

The new draft Telecom Policy, unveiled by Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, on Monday set a target of 600 million high-speed internet connections by 2020.

The new policy went to the extent of likening the broadband connectivity to basic necessities like health and education and proposes to work towards a ‘Right to Broadband' for every citizen. The policy has also called for providing, by 2015, ‘Broadband on Demand' services, which would enable affordable, across-the-country, round-the-clock and high-speed internet connectivity to the users.

Primary objective

“The primary objective of the new policy is maximising public good by making available affordable, reliable and secure telecommunication and broadband services across the entire country,” Mr. Sibal said.

The draft NTP-2011 aims to achieve 175 million broadband connections by 2017 and 600 million by 2020. The draft also aims at offering broadband services at a minimum 2 Mbps on download and making available higher speed of at least 100 Mbps on demand. As of June 2011, rural broadband had a penetration of only 1 per cent and has lagged behind the growth of telephony in India (tele-density of 74 per cent).

Besides, the draft also aims at providing high speed and high quality broadband access to all village panchayats through optical fibre by 2014 and progressively to all villages and habitations.

The Telecom Commission, the decision making arm of the Department of Telecom, has already cleared the Rs. 20,000-crore project to provide broadband connectivity to all villages in the next three years.

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