“Reaching the Unreached Through Broadband”

In an exclusive interaction with Voice&Data, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), discusses the big gaps that are coming in the way of the vision of telecom in India. According to her, the basic mobile connectivity is paramount of importance.

“So, while we are talking about 5G in the country, we have to recognize that we cannot afford to have a situation where people still don’t have access to phones. We have to reach the unreached,” she said.

The second big gap is the access to the internet. Internet should be available for everyone. Today we have one-third of Indians who have access to broadband. We need to take that all the way upto 1bn.

“These services should be available to urban poor people, women and marginalized women as it is an important instrument for them. The mobile phones and internet are two basic necessities today as it helps in doing banking, access healthcare, search for jobs, sell their goods in the market etc. For them, it is an absolute necessity,” she further added.

Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan said that the government has laid out a detailed roadmap of what has to be done. She gives few steps to overcome these gaps:

  • Fibre in this country needs to be doubled
  • Tower infrastructure needs to be doubled
  • The data needs to become affordable

According to her, every state must recognize it is no longer physical infrastructure alone which is important but we must recognize digital infrastructure is absolutely paramount. We need to ensure that it is not a question of providing connectivity but making sure that it is affordable for even the poorest man of this country. Fortunately, India has the cheapest tariff in the world but we need to ensure that everybody has access to it.

 

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