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Government to expand broadband service in rural India; to invest $2 billion

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Government to expand broadband service in rural India; to invest $2 billion

The Ministry of Communication & IT is planning to set up 112,000 Community Service Centres in rural India to provide it with broadband connectivity in 2008-09. The Ministry is garnering an investment of $2 billion for this exercise. This was disclosed by Minister of State for Communications & IT, Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, at the Global Telecom Summit, organised by Assocham and held in the Capital.

Scindia further said, “$1.5 billion investment for providing broadband access to rural India would be generated through the private sector. The remaining $ 0.5 billion of investment would be poured into the project from Government sources.”

The Community Service Centres would be set up under the extension of Knowledge Mission, initiatives for which were taken by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The Government would declare its broadband policy shortly as well as a policy for Wi-Max so that connectivity for broadband, particularly for rural India, becomes easier and convenient and the entire countryside is provided with this facility largely under the public-private partnership. Wi-MAX is a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to wired broadband like cable and DSL.

Scindia added, “The Ministry of Communication & IT would unfold its 3G service guidelines by June and their execution would be effected by the end of the current calendar year. The aim of the new policies would also be to provide wireless telephone and mobile telephone to almost every household in rural India by 2010, as promised by the UPA Government.”

Speaking on the occasion, TV Ramachandran, Chairman, ITU Regional Working Group for Private Sector Issues, called for a new convergence policy, which is long due as the Government has rolled out only its policy initiatives on issues relating to convergence in bits and pieces. Likewise, the policy for content access and IPTV were yet to be framed, he added.


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