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Broadband India Forum (BIF) Presents 10 Point Agenda to New Government to Deliver Broadband for all by 2020

1. Key Issues and Solutions in National Broadband Infrastructure Roll Out. BIF has prepared a compendium of 7 white papers addressing key issues and bringing out solutions to drive the planning and deployment of national broadband infrastructure. The solutions brought out in the white papers are completely free from any bias towards any specific technology, company or industry and include the best practices followed by large developed nations but modified to suit the Indian conditions of serving the interest of all sections including EWS. BIF would be honored to present the salient features of the white papers.  

2. Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL). $ 4 billion project with a provision to bring another $ 2 billion later, vested with government is hugely important and needs urgent attention. More than two years experience of its roll out where not a single kbps of band width has been leased to any service provider indicates a major flaw in the project planning, execution, delivery and operations and maintenance. We need to quickly re-organize the structure, staffing and review mechanism of BBNL by inducting top professionals in the steering committee and the project management board who have hands on planning, project, commercial and operational experience in the industry. 

3. Delicensing of DECT Spectrum from 1880-1910 MHz. 30 MHz of DECT spectrum if de-licensed, apart from quick and affordable proliferation of cordless telecommunications, both voice and data in corporate, SMEs and homes, would also help service providers to offer low cost Internet in the hands of EWS in huts, clusters and slums through innovations just like NTT DoCoMo in 1999 did for Japanese farmers through i-mode.

4. Streamline Revenue Share between Service Providers and Government Dependent upon the Type of Service Areas from which the Earnings accrue to the Operators. Rural areas should be made very low revenue share or even exempt until these start becoming remunerative. This will encourage investment in these areas by the service providers.

5. Spectrum Streamlining for Defense. We need to take a cue from the developed world to ensure that our defense services have their own bands and they do not occupy the economy driving commercial bands. This is a national level very hard strategic decision which requires around 10 year program to commit that the radio based communication and non communication equipment of the Armed Forces  will be out side the economy driving commercial bands without in any way adversely affecting the telecom needs  of the Armed Forces. While NFS is necessary but it is not sufficent. The nation needs to set up the methods and procedures to equip the Armed Forces with such equipment even if we have to do most of the manufacturing ourselves. We should simply adopt the best practices being followed in the developed world. 

6. CATV Digitization. National level CATV digitization exercise is being done. This is the classic example showing apathy to the whole exercise. No developed country has ever done the CATV digitization in the manner in which India has been doing since early 2012. 150 million CATV homes when digitized should carry both TV and non TV broadband services giving Internet access to 630 million people @ 4.2 persons per family. This is possible to complete by 2017. We need to take away the CATV from the governance and control of MIB and give this to the MICT who alone can ensure that a national Digital IP Nextgen Converged Ubiquitous (DINCU) Open Access Network (OAN) built around FTTC sees the light of the day. DINCU OAN built around FTTC is the need of the nation just like electricity is needed in every home. 

7. MVNO License - Bring out MVNO license so that good and competent companies can start distributing mobile services as also are free to build their own Wi-Fi off load network. A large country like India can never be served broadband by 6 to 8 mobile operators alone. Good companies, including legal entities in CATV when brought under the MICT will help in the turn around of broadband scenario of the nation.

8. Liberalization of Satellite Communications. Satellite is the most valuable national resource to connect 30 % people living in inaccessible areas but they have been kept unconnected due to total wasteful satellite policy. DoS exercising de-facto monopolistic control over one of the most powerful national resources of satellite communications with zero responsibility of connecting the unconnected people at land and/or sea to the government development programs has not helped at all. Liberalization of Satcom policy adopting the best practices of liberalization of telecom since 1994 with clear cut responsibility for policy, regulatory and satellite service providers with inbuilt national security mechanism must be done asap. The nation has suffered in connecting the unconnected without a liberalized satcom policy. 

9. Mobile Apps and Services including G2C Services for Safety and Security. These need to be a mix of public and private venture. G2C services including personal, family and people monitoring, safety and security, parenting where LEAs need to be integrated so that they reach the location within minutes where a person needs their help must be provided to the citizens asap. Government has to take the ownership of making the LEAs an integral part of it and made accountable for their responsibilities to the people safety and security and curb crime against women and children. All of this is possible today with huge penetration of mobiles in the hands of the people. There is a need to make MICT as the central point to deliver such G2C services as drafted by the MHA who should enable the integration of LEAs into this and MWCD who should lay down the specific needs to curb the crime against women and children.

10. Convergence of Networks and Services. Networks and content must be separated. All networks must be with ICT (DoT) and all content must be with I&B. The networks in most developed nations have already become converged. It is only in India, we are still the laggards. Managing networks like CATV, DTH etc in isolation by I&B is precluding the true convergence of fixed, mobile, cable and satellite networks which must be used for both TV and non TV services. There is an urgent need to manage and govern the networks under the aegis of one agency like DoT where as all content must be with I&B. Single point responsibility brings out the best out of the networks infrastructure while the content gets managed best irrespective of the delivery mechanism. 


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