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India No 1 in Growth and Governance by 2030 through Structural Separation of Carriage and Content

" In CASBAA 2013 today, a point was raised about how to achieve true broadband penetration in India to surpass its economic growth beyond 10 % and deliver good government services to the citizens turned as customers. Both growth and governance through quick broadband penetration would make India No 1 country by 2030.

The country has 140 million CATV connections in huts, slums, clusters, LIG, MIG and HIG homes. Assuming 100 million CATV homes and a family strength of 4.2, 420 million citizens can have access to true broadband in parallel while national CATV digitisation gets completed by 2015. Excluding children, say @ 2 per family, CATV digitisation delivers true broadband service to 210 million adults giving a penetration of nearly 20 %. Every 10 % broadband penetration adds 1.38 % GDP growth, 20 % penetration adds 2.76 % GDP growth taking it beyond 10 % annual economic growth as universally declared by the Broadband Commission of the UN and accepted by all the countries.

Broadband access to 420 million citizens by 2016, giving one year extra from the time national CATV digitisation is completed by 2015, enables substantial implementation of National E Governance Plan (NEGP) both at the center and state level. This also paves the way for completion of the much needed National E Tendering and Procurement System (NETPS). Both NEGP and NETPS provide superior government services to citizens who by now really can be treated as the esteemed customers of the government just like what US, South Korea and 40 other developed countries practise.

With more than 10 % Year-on-Year economic growth and superior governance both sustaining till 2026, India comes on fast track and then gets poised to be No 1 democracy in the world in growth and governance by 2030. This is possible if the national CATV digitisation is done in a manner which while providing far superior TV experience also provides non TV services like true broadband bearer service.

The Ministry of I&B (MIB) is currently responsible for the largest CATV digitisation exercise in the world. Moreover, it is also governing all other carriage through networks like CATV, DTH, satellite TV, FM broadcast and AM broadcast. When, the carriage of the content was based on analog systems, MIB was capable of handling all these networks. With digitisation of the content, the carriage has become ubiquitous and networks can carry easily all types of content like voice, text, data, TV, video, images, graphics, maps and so on. Various types of networks have already become converged. The most costly part of the networks i.e., the infrastructure both active and passive, must be shared by all types of possible content to fully optimise the cost of carriage and efficient management.

The Ministry of ICT (MICT) is the single agency charged with the responsibility of all networks, wired, wireless, cable and satellite and most importantly achieving the broadband penetration targets as enshrined in NTP 2012. It is impossible to achieve true broadband penetration without CATV networks chipping in the last mile for non TV services too. CATV industry of MSOs and LCOs is being governed by the MIB and telcos are managed by the MICT. Telcos do not have the last mile infrastructure and MSOs/LCOs do not have the carrier grade back end, core and edge networks which telcos have. Only together, telcos and MSOs/LCOs can deliver the true broadband through effective interconnection regulations and enforcement thereof. It is therefore the MICT which is the right agency to establish the right network infrastructure through which it can manage the carriage of all types of content if the capital intensive network infrastructure is to be fully optimised resulting in the least cost of carriage of the content. If the cost of carriage is minimised, the services can be priced cheaper and the beneficiary is always the end citizen turned customer.

The country needs to take a historic call of structural separation of carriage from content. The MICT assumes full responsibility of carriage and the MIB assumes full responsibility of the content served through cinema, TV, PC, lap top, tablet, mob, on-line and print. Recall, how a seditious content through a short MMS clip unleashed horrible violence starting from NE and spreading like a wild fire to the rest of the country and more than 100 precious lives were lost. If MIB was doing its own job, it would have established a National Content Monitoring Center (NCMC) by deploying the best available technologies and software in the world and the MMS clip could have been stopped even before it showed its ugly head or a counter to this seditious MMS clip could have been sent to all those who received this horrendous clip saying that do not pay any attention to this, it is false and a sinister method to create communal disharmony in the country and destroy the democratic multi religious free structure of the nation. This is squarely the responsibility the MIB. Rather than doing what it is incapable of doing, it should do what it is most suitably equipped to do i.e., handle content and leave the carriage through the networks to the MICT.

In fact, this would be a historical structural change in the ruling and governance set up of the country which has been coming since the British Raj. For the country to become No 1 in growth and governance by 2030, this structural change is inescapable. All the political parties need to understand this asap. "

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