CII calls for broadband infra fund

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Monday pitched for a ‘Broadband Infrastructure Fund’ with a token allocation of ₹5,000 crore by the government in the upcoming Budget.

“[The] CII has suggested that the government make a token budgetary allocation of ₹5,000 crore in the upcoming Budget 2021-22 towards building the Broadband Infrastructure Fund,” the industry body said, adding that rapid acceleration in the creation of digital infrastructure would be an effective tool for inclusive digitalisation that would help boost economic growth and employment.

The CII had also set up a Task Force on Digital Infra, chaired by former Telecom Secretary J. S. Deepak, and will include representatives from network and passive infrastructure providers, telecom service providers, equipment manufacturers, academic institutions and think tanks.

On pre-Budget recommendations for digital infrastructure, Mr. Deepak said, “To achieve the dream of Digital India and the goals of NDCP-2018, major investments are required. Considering the financial stress that the sector is going through and the growing digital divide in urban and rural areas, it is important for the government to allocate specific funds towards building nationwide digital infrastructure.”

The CII said that in line with some of the global peers, the government should consider increasing funding for broadband infrastructure, especially where private investment is not adequate.

Additionally, the industry body has proposed that the government should allow access to alternative and cheap sources of capital for the digital communications sector to scale up the necessary infrastructure for the rapid data demand and 5G rollout. Further, in order to ensure financial stability for the sector, it has recommended that Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) be reduced to 1%.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 12:02:02 AM |

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