India targets 600M broadband users by 2020

Summary:Government has committed US$3.7 billion as part of efforts to drive broadband penetration in the country, from 20 million users currently to 600 million by 2020.

The Indian government is "taking proactive steps" to increase the reach of broadband across the country from the current 20 million users to 600 million users by 2020.

According to a statement Tuesday by the Confederation of Indian Industry, R Chandrasekhar, secretary of the Department of IT and chairman of the Telecom Commission, said the government will invest 200 billion rupee (US$3.7 billion) over the next few years to strengthen the broadband network in the country.

Speaking at the CII-Media Entertainment Summit 2012, Chandrasekhar added the investment would boost and extend the country's digitization, cloud-based services  and convergence  to reach citizens in remote areas.

However, the minister said the government will play primarily the role of a facilitator, as it will be the cable and telecom service providers which will provide last-mile connectivity.

With increased connectivity, he said India's digital space will undergo "radical change", giving a boost to healthcare services , education and entertainment, while decreasing the cost of such services due to convergence.

Chandrasekhar, though, noted several challenges in India's digital space which need to be resolved as soon as possible. He pointed to regulation of carriage fees, protection of intellectual property rights, and piracy which continue to be grey areas.

The Indian government has been working to increase the country's connectivity. In July 2011, it proposed plans to expand its fiber network from the district level to the village level. In April that same year, the government and industry players pledged to drive the growth of mobile broadband services  across the country.

India has some distance to go to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of broadband connections. According to a report by Akamai  published in mid-October, India, along with Indonesia, had the lowest adoption rates for broadband Internet during the second quarter at 1.4 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, while 55 countries around the world had adoption levels greater than 10 percent.


Topics: Networking, India, Telcos


The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate mas... Full Bio

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