Welcome Guest Login | Register | Site Map | | Make TelecomTiger my homepage     
Telecom News
Enterprise |  Policy & Regulation |  Mobiles & Tabs |  Corporate |  VAS |  People Movement  |  Technology  |  LTE



RS Sharma on the status of Digital India

R S Sharma
Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
  Manoj Gairola |  New Delhi | 10/08/2017

R. S. Sharma, chairman of telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) is a pioneer of Digital India. He is responsible for conceptualising and initiating the program when he was secretary of DeIT. The government has now approved the second phase of Bharatnet program, under which high speed broadband would be provided to the Village Panchayats. He spoke with Business World on the status of Digital India. Excerpts of interview:

Q: You are architect of Digital India program. What is the reason that the results of Digital India program couldn’t reach the masses, especially in rural areas?

A: Since the commencement of Digital India program, the broadband numbers have seen a steady increase. Broadband is basically an ecosystem of several independent components that function efficiently when they are together and sub-optimally in isolation. Main components of this eco system include policies to promote digital literacy, development of locally relevant content and applications, and creating threshold demand. When all these components are in place, availability of broadband is very effective, akin to a force multiplier.

For broadband penetration in rural areas, the government is rolling out BharatNet using the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). Once this project is implemented, availability of broadband in remote and rural areas will improve.

Another interesting aspect is that a few service providers are claiming that they are planning to roll out their networks in rural areas also. We have to wait and see.

Q: Why National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project that was supposed to provide broadband in villages could not meet its deadlines?

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had set up a Committee that submitted its report on 31 March, 2015. The committee identified accountability fears and misaligned incentives for the implementation agency as major issues responsible for massive delays in project. When TRAI did a suo-moto consultation, it emerged that “public-private-partnership” (PPP) model is best suited for this project. Under PPP model, private sector’s capacity for delivery is combined with the government’s role as an enabler and regulator to overcome market failures.

Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model has potential to ensure long-term incentive and reduces risks. In our recommendations dated 01 February, 2016, we stated: ‘A PPP model that aligns private incentives with long term service delivery in the vein of the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer/Build-Operate-Transfer models of implementation be the preferred means of implementation.’

Our understanding is that the implementation of a project like BharatNet should be done by entities that have their own interests in monetisation of the network. From various media reports we have come to know that the government has approved the next phase of BhartaNet project.

Q: Why private players have not shown any interest in providing broadband in rural areas?

We are aware that the private sector has not yet shown much interest in penetration in rural areas. In our recommendations to the government, we have stated - ‘It becomes desirable to structure the private sector’s involvement in a manner that aligns long-term private sector incentives with the State’s social and public service delivery objectives. Such alignment of incentives is possible in a PPP model and can go a long way in reducing the need for extensive and granular public sector monitoring, reducing the state/monitoring agency’s role to simply ensuring outcomes in special circumstances. Bundling construction and operation is efficient as it requires private parties to internalise operation and maintenance costs, generating incentives to design the project in a manner that minimises life-cycle costs’.

 mail this article    print this article    Show and Post Comment
Maintain Business Continuity with Cisco ASR 9000 nV Technology
It is a virtual chassis solution where a pair of ASR 9000 routers acts as a single device by maintaining a single contr...read more
Simplify Your Network with Cisco ASR 9000 nV Technology
With the new Cisco Network Virtualization (nV) technology in the Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers, se...read more
Cisco Small Cell Solution: Reduce Costs, Improve Coverage
It is designed to address the challenge of mobile service coverage and to expand network capacity...read more
Other interviews
Kirusa’s newly launched InstaVoice ReachMe app provides unique telephony experience for users
95%+of the products delivered today by iVOOMi is made in India
A large proportion of our product and solution portfolio is directly relevant to 5G networks
Cloud telephony is the best suited medium to reach out to the masses
"Smartphones have an integral part to play in the connected world of future"
“Domestic (Indian) brands are taking a larger share of the market every month”
“I do not expect much impact on tariff for consumers”
“We would be focusing on LTE 4G solutions in 2014 in India”
“We will start rolling out 4G LTE services by end of this financial year”
After advent of LTE technological innovation is much more challenging
“Our green technology can reduce diesel consumption by 56%”
“We expect 3G revenue contribution to be at par or exceed 2G revenue”
"We are strengthening our service capabilities in India"
“We partner with right technology and utilize our competitive advantage”
Indian VAS market is huge and effectively receptive
We are looking at growth in India
3G, 4G to fuel MVAS growth
Introduction of data plans at the right price and packaging key to growth
Smartphones will be major catalyst for mobile advertising growth in India
Despite challenges VAS market will continue to grow in India
Indo-US defense ties have created opportunities for T&M industry
3G penetration will help expand VAS market in India
ZTE has formed an enterprise solutions team for enterprise business in India
Telecom operators are looking forward to deploy green wireless solutions
Our value proposition to hotels has been well accepted
Effective mobile campaign management can boost operator’s business
Interpreting and analyzing data is vital for successful business
Unified Communications is transforming India Inc
Bill shock makes 90% Indians switch off data connection
LTE will ensure lower capital investment
'We need to come quickly to LTE': J S Sarma
'Corporate war fueling 2G controversy:’ A Raja
Ruckus Wireless’ WBA solution promises cost effective alternative to WiMAX in urban areas
Mobile data services the new opportunity for Indian operators to increase ARPU feels Comverse
Capgemini foresees huge scope for engagement with Indian Mobile Operators to drive Rural uptake
“Waiting for competition to tap the $ 150 mn agri-info MVAS market along with us”: RML
“Already serving more than 657 mn ad displays monthly in India over mobile web”: Admob
“Our international reach will be our main differentiator for mobile financial services,” says Roamware
Sterlite Technologies plans multi-fold organic growth to break into the global top league
Entry of 3G will make Broadband Services more appealing in India, says NSN
Picocell as a tool for Customer Retention, the ip.access way
WiMAX not a 4G technology, only LTE is, says Ericsson CTO
No business case for WiMAX in rural India….definitely not, says Qualcomm India
Delta carving out differentiation around Green Quotient of its telecom site power solutions
TI’s new chip makes way for Smaller, Denser, Cost-effective wireless base station design
Qualcomm India: “Well-positioned to serve both GSM & CDMA operators for 3G migration”
UTStarcom: IPTV far more relevant technology to India than any other market in the world
“Decision to foray into CDMA space is with an eye on data services” says Sistema Shyam’s CEO
‘Fixedline infrastructure can never deliver broadband across India’ says GSMA Director
Loop Mobile: Engaging and then exciting our subscribers is the core focus of all our communication initiatives
With voice being commoditised, SMS set to assume greater role, foresees Tekelec
"The race is still anybody's to win in the mobile browser market," declares BOLT
“WiMAX has seen very good traction and adoption in India”, says Tata Elxsi
“.tel is the biggest innovation in the internet”
India’s largest mall on your mobile: ngpay
Economic slowdown has no impact on Airtel, says Akhil Gupta
Synchronica fully supports legal interception unlike RIM, says CEO
Motorola says uniquely positioned to best serve critical technology demands of enterprises in India
Tandberg: Real value of video-conferencing solution should be measured on usability and benefits
DTH, WiMAX and Billing to be new focus areas for Oracle India
Wireline Services will bounce back, says Chairman MRO-TEK
Motorola well-positioned to play a major role in India’s next phase of growth, says Mohanty
Aircel will double its network by 2008 end
‘We are migrating to full IP Network’, says MTNL director (technical) Kuldip Singh
Sistema will offer competitive tariff, Mobile TV in India
Mobile TV is a distant dream in India
IT & BPO growth story will continue
Redefining rules of the game