India to have 20 million broadband connections by 2010

India to have 20 million broadband connections by 2010

New Delhi: While speaking at the inauguration of 4th Broadband Tech India 2007, G.S Grover, member Services, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications & IT said that the international call rates will drop down to the level of domestic calls rates in the near future due the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).The annual conference on broadband which is in it’s fourth year was organised by Bharat Exhibitions.

According to Grover, the broadband revolution that has already started will lead India into its next phase of economic growth. “Last time when the government reduced the entry fee and revenue share for international long distance license, the number of service providers jumped from four to 31 resulting in intense competition and lower costs to the users. Same situation is about to happen in this segment also," added Grover.

The major obstacle before the growth of this segment was speed.Plans are to offer bandwidth of not just 2 Mbps or 4Mbps but of 20 Mbps to 40 Mbps as in Korea and Japan.

“Among all technology options for rural connectivity, advanced wireless systems are the best suited. Among the various AWS options available, the one with minimal disruptions is the most preferred. On this course CDMA 1XEVDO is the front runner". said B V Raman, country head CDG India.

While giving his keynote address Vijay Yadav, managing director for South Aisa, UT Starcom said that soon we would be able to have access to broadband of 2 Mbps or above speed anywhere in India at zero or near zero cost. According to him this could touch off a new revolution in the country. Connecting over six lakh villages with broadband connectivity will help introduce the power of IPTV as an enabling tool that could eventually bring BPOs to locate in India’s villages.

According to Grover, each year, over 10,000 villages, schools, hospitals and other public places would have broadband access. Today the country has about 2.7 million connections and by the year 2010 the number is expected to cross 20 million broadband connections.

To make broadband a success story in India, 2 Mbps and above connected needs are expected to be made free or should be charged only on the basis of usage of content. “High bandwidth would touch off- high usage in distant education, e-medicine, distance health care and entertainment. The commercial houses would find opening to a huge consumer market through this connectivity," said Yadav. “We can call it a “button revolution" as Indian villagers would respond more to video rather than to data and to flicking of a button rather than working with a keypad," he further added.

Adding to this Kuldip Singh, director (Technical), MTNL, “We are all set to offer 2.5 Mbps broadband connectivity as a part of the new telephone connection free. The customer will be billed for usage only." The service provider for the Delhi and Mumbai metros has strengthened its network with MPLS technology so that all broadband users get the basic 2 Mbps bandwidth without fail. While according to BSNL director, Rajendra Singh, BSNL was planning a widespread rollout of broadband connectivity across the country. To begin with, the company is planning to provide broadband connectivity over wire-line to 25,000 villages and another 25,000 villages through Wi-Max to begin with, while the inaccessible interior would be connected using satellites.

While giving his key note address, the TRAI’s Principal adviser Lav Gupta pointed out 90% of the present 2.7 million connections were getting only 256 Kbps bandwidth. According to him the challenges before the broadband service providers is the rising cost of providing the service and the content. Bharti Airtel chief of strategy Shankar Halder also cautioned the service providers to first ensure that there were compelling reasons for users to go for broadband through effective content. “Otherwise they will not use it" he added.