Wired and wireless broadband in India, the next big thing

Wired and wireless broadband in India, the next big thing

Summary: Fiber Optic connectivity across India to provide broadband to 160 million houses, Qualcomm allowed to invest in a broadband venture with two Indian companies. Reliance and Qualcomm testing 4G networks and the WiMax Forum saying India is a huge market.

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While mobile communication (voice+text) has seen incredible growth in India, broadband connectivity hasn’t been taken as seriously. Last year, India announced a National Broadband Plan with the intention of connecting close to 160 million households compared to an estimated 10.3 Million connections as of now.

The National Broadband Plan, proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is an estimated Rs. 600 Billion investment (~$13 Billion). As part of the NBP, TRAI hopes to have 60 Million wireless broadband, 22 Million DSL and 78 Million Cable Internet users, by 2014. Ambitious.

The plan outlines setting up of State Optical Fiber Agencies (SOFA) in each state that will be under the state government and a National Optical Fiber Agency (NOFA). Speeds of upto 10 Mbps downlink are expected in cities. Retaining the Telecommunication and IT ministry after the cabinet reshuffle, Kapil Sibal said that a blue print for the National Broadband Plan will be in place by March 31st.

Last year, auctions for Broadband wireless were conducted which raised close $8.5 Billion. Qualcomm Inc. and Infotel Broadband made winning bids. Reliance Industries bought Infotel and Qualcomm has now been given the green light to invest up to $770 Million in their Indian Broadband Wireless Access venture. Qualcomm secured Kerala, Haryana including the crucial Delhi, Mumbai. As per regulations, Qualcomm roped in two Indian companies – Tulip Telecom and Global Holdings with 13% stake each.

Both Qualcomm and Reliance have tested 4G networks in Gurgaon and Mumbai respectively. According to TRAI Chairman JS Sarma, India might see commercial launch of 4G by mid 2012. Talking to the press, JS Sarma said, “I expect 4G to come in India next year. TRAI will bring out a consultation paper on 4G in the middle of this year.”

With talks and tests about 4G, the WiMax Forum has been quick to respond claiming that there is market for WiMax in India. Marketing Director for the WiMax Forum, Declan Byrne says both technologies can coexist in India. He said, “We are not threatened by the (TD-LTE) technology. We are actually delivering mobile broadband, while TD-LTE is still under trial. My request to the TD-LTE camp is -- this is a big market, let us cooperate to serve it well. There is room for both technologies. I feel good about where we are, where we are going.”

Hopefully the pitiful state of broadband in India will undergo a transformation for the better.

Topics: Mobility, Broadband, Networking, Telcos, Wi-Fi

Manan Kakkar

About Manan Kakkar

Telecommunication engineer with a keen interest in end-user technology and a News junkie, I share my thoughts while preparing for my Master's in Information Management.

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6 comments
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  • WiMAX vs. LTE vs. TRAI

    There is no reason to trust TRAI targets, so that is out of question. The WiMAX forum should understand that in tech world more efficient technologies take place of less efficient ones. I can't confirm but can assume that Reliance is testing LTE for their 4G rollout. Because they don't follow the rules of the game and take big risks as they did with CDMA and beaten up rivals in service quality and costs. Qualcomm is very aggressive on LTE and I can predict that India is a LTE market if 2012 is the target launch date. I expect Reliance to launch its services by Q3 2011 before Diwali.
    raviaggarwal
  • RE: Wired and wireless broadband in India, the next big thing

    Wired Broadband in India is dead. It will be all about wireless broadband and about 70% access will be via mobile devices like Phones, Tablets and Laptops rather than desktops. LTE will rule the roost, WiMAX will eventually be phased out.
    khabari
  • Welcome to the 20th Century.

    We are in the 21st over here, but you will catch up eventually.
    james347
  • What in the world...

    ...is a farmer and a cow going to do with broadband?
    james347
  • RE: Wired and wireless broadband in India, the next big thing

    "Wired Broadband in India is dead. It will be all about wireless broadband and about 70% access will be via mobile devices like Phones, Tablets and Laptops rather than desktops. LTE will rule the roost, WiMAX will eventually be phased out."

    It is dead because you have such poor land based infrastructure in pretty much all areas...telecommunications, roads, water systems, electricity, etc. The United States has had solid wired infrastructure for more than 100 years and nothing anytime soon is going to beat fiber optics. If Verizon wanted to (there are no residential applications that actually need it though), it could easily deliver 1 Gbps to households. For now, 100 Mbps is more than plenty of course. And, Sprint's Wimax and Verzion's LTE networks are already in use while Tmobile's HSPA+ is pretty impressive as well.
    westwoodwizard
  • Broadband internet is best

    Compare to modem , mobile net and other internet the Broadband internet is best .
    Broadband internet very fast speed browsing and as well as downloading . if will connect internet my suggestion is BSNL Broadband services . if you want more information about Broadband internet service click here ....http://saverable.com/broad-band
    James Franklin123