Trai for setting up broadband network at Rs60,000 cr

Trai for setting up broadband network at Rs60,000 cr

New Delhi: In order to achieve 160 million broadband connections by 2014, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday recommended setting up a national broadband network at a cost of about Rs60,000 crore.

The telecom regulator, which came up with recommendations on ‘National Broadband Plan’ said that the project would be financed by universal service obligation (USO) fund and the loan given by the government.

The recommendations from Trai came amid the government’s failure to meet its target of 20 million broadband connections by 2010.

Besides, the recommendations on ‘National Broadband Plan’ is expected to facilitate inclusive growth of the country by including the large rural population in governance, decision making process and to extend to the rural areas better education, health and banking facilities.

At present, the number of broadband connections is only 10.3 million.

“Therefore, there is an urgent need to facilitate rapid growth of broadband," Trai said.

Established in two phases, this network would be an open access optical fibre network connecting all habitation with population of 500 and above and will be completed by 2013.

“The network will provide easy access to high speed data and information to citizens, promoting thereby the efforts in the field of education, health and others," the regulator said.

To roll-out the nation-wide networks, Trai has also recommended formation of a government-owned holding company – National Optical Fibre Agency (NOFA).

Besides, the centralized holding company, Trai also recommended formation of – State Optical Fiber Agency (SOFA) – in every state with 51% equity held by NOFA and the rest by the respective state governments.

Both the government holding companies is expected to ring in revenue to the tune of Rs26,000 crore per year.