India may miss broadband subscriber target: study

Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: The target of bringing broadband connectivity to India's remote hinterland that will take its subscriber base to 20 million by 2010 may not be achieved, says a study carried out by an industry body.

The target of reaching 20 million users can only be achieved after personal computers (PCs) with a price tag of 10,000 with adequate infrastructure are made available to the rural people to connect them with urban and semi-urban population, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

India has been able to provide broadband connectivity to less than 2.5 million subscribers as against its target of 3 million in 2005, according to the study, 'Broadband in India', brought out jointly by Assocham and Frost and Sullivan.

"In order to overcome many hurdles, the best strategy for spreading broadband would be to make use of India's available infrastructure," Assocham president Venugopal N. Dhoot said in a statement.

"It needs to be done not only through telephone lines but also through power lines. The electric line will become the most obvious choice for spreading broadband since it is far more widespread and touches many homes," Dhoot said.

The study also highlighted the fact that the primary reason for the failure of broadband penetration in the country is congestion in the networks created by the service providers that sometimes goes up to as high as 50 to 85 percent.

The biggest challenge that the providers face today is that of optimisation of network to enhance the user experience coupled with the problem of content in terms of its relevance for the rural users.

The government should play a leading role in developing and deploying applications such as e-governance, e-education, agricultural services and healthcare services that could be used by the masses especially in rural areas, the chamber suggested.

It has also urged the service providers to give this the same kind of leverage as they are giving in expanding their mobile telephony network in the remote areas of the country.

The body also said the country should take maximum advantage and share best practises with other countries in the deployment of various kind of wireless technologies such as WiMax and 3G that are preferred worldwide for the growth of broadband.
Source: IANS
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