Raising quality and speed of broadband for better user experience involves a multi-pronged approach, and the regulator has made suggestions including strengthening of infrastructure, proliferation of WiFi hotspots and use of cable TV for broadband, to address the issue in a holistic manner, a senior Trai official said on Monday.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Secretary S K Gupta said there may be a certain perception that operators are not providing good-quality broadband, but singularly blaming telecom service providers may not be a correct approach, and instead the issue calls for a “group effort”.
“I personally feel that singularly criticising the telecom service providers for not providing good quality of broadband may not be right. It is rather a group effort which can be done, so we can have a good-quality broadband,” Gupta said while speaking at a virtual event organised by the Broadband India Forum (BIF).
Emphasising the importance of broadband and its aspects like quality and speed, Gupta said Trai is sensitive to consumer requirements.
But, just redefining broadband speeds, though an important aspect, would not be enough by itself to improve the experience of consumers, he said.
He added that therefore, more focus needs to be on development of infrastructure and ecosytem to enable a good-quality broadband even as there can be no denying that broadband definition also needs to be revised.
“I am pained to find out that some people are complaining that their child is not able to attend their classes, because broadband is not working properly. There are serious issues…why we are not able to provide good broadband is a point of deliberation,” he said.
Gupta noted that broadband utilisation patterns have changed with high-speed internet becoming an integral part of people’s daily lives (including online education, internet banking and office work) and the slightest interruption or operational issues disturbs users.
Fixed-line penetration in India remains “dismal” and connectivity is largely through wireless networks.
The current penetration level of optical fibre for backhaul is low, he said stressing the need for fiberisation on a “fast track basis”.
“Trai has been making a lot of efforts on how we can provide a good-quality broadband…some of them include encouraging fixed line, using WiFi Access Network Interface (WANI), using cable TV network for broadband, increasing scope of infrastructure providers,” Gupta said counting right of way issue as one of the biggest hurdles for players.
He added that many telecom service providers are pleading if there can be instructions that at least government buildings can be used to put towers. “Unfortunately, in spite of all the efforts we are not able to secure that for telecom service providers,” Gupta said.
Recently, Trai released a consultation paper on issues related to broadband speeds.
BIF, in a statement, said India must aim to be among the top-10 countries in broadband experience in the next five years.
“As the country moves towards 5G where services will be even more data-centric, it is essential to create a modern quality of experience/quality of service regulatory regime that incentivises all stakeholders to focus on improving the quality of connectivity,” BIF said.
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