India has officially unveiled its National Broadband Mission. At an event held on December 17th, the Minister for Communications, Law & Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad announced that the National Broadband Mission is all set to fulfill the aspirations of the people and would enable fast track growth of India’s digital communication infrastructure.
He was addressing the gathering after launching the National Broadband Mission (NBM) in New Delhi. The Minister of State for Communications, Human Resources Development and Electronics & Information Technology, Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, the Secretary (Telecom), Anshu Prakash and other senior officials were present on the occasion. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also launched the logo of the NBM, and a booklet on this occasion.
The event also witnessed participation from a large number of representatives from the telecom industry, officers from various Ministries of the Government of India, various State Governments and senior officers of the Department of Telecommunications.
The vision of the NBM is to fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all. Some of the objectives of the Mission which is structured with a strong emphasis on the three principles of universality, affordability, and quality are:
- Broadband access to all villages by 2022
- Facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services for across the country and especially in rural and remote areas
- Laying of incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fiber Cable and an increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of the population by 2024
- Significantly improve the quality of services for mobile and internet
- Develop innovative implementation models for Right of Way (RoW) and to work with States/UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to expansion of digital infrastructure including for RoW approvals required for laying of OFC
- Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and a conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT.
- Creation of a digital fiber map of the Digital Communications network and infrastructure, including Optical Fiber Cables and Towers, across the country
- Investment from stakeholders of USD 100 billion (Rs 7 Lakh Crore) including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
- Address policy and regulatory changes required to accelerate the expansion and creation of digital infrastructure and services
- Work with all stakeholders including the concerned Ministries / Departments/ Agencies, and Ministry of Finance, for enabling investments for the Mission.
Commenting on the launch of the Broadband Mission, Rajan S Mathews, COAI, said, “The industry body is working with the states and local bodies for uniform implementation of the Right of Way rules as state participation in facilitating and expediting norms will be key to this mission.”