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Will India see a second telecom revolution?

Zafar Anjum | June 16, 2014
In this exclusive interview, Raju Wadalkar, Global Head, CTO, Tech Mahindra, talks about the prospects of the Indian telecom sector after a new government under the leadership of Narendra Modi was recently inaugurated in New Delhi.

The Government has announced plans to offer incentives to local telecom manufacturers, such as an interest-free deferred excise duty payout option over a 7-year span, export standard operating procedures, 10-year tax holidays and a 10-billion-rupee telecom innovation fund. These will promote the growth of telecom manufacturing and entrepreneurship.

How can the new government promote internet connectivity and broadband access to accelerate economic growth?

The government estimates the broadband subscriber base will rise forty-fold in the next eight years. A 10% increase in broadband penetration will lead to a 1.4% increase in GDP, a 37% increase in education revenue and a 42% increase in healthcare revenue.

As almost 70% of India's population lives in rural areas, broadband is valuable in channelling services (heath, education etc.) and information to these communities. The Government should play a key role by implementing its National Broadband Plan. It should consider a public-private partnership (PPP) model to fund its National Optical Fiber Network plan.

Wireless broadband is an effective alternative in a country like India but spectrum availability is limited. The government should increase broadband spectrum. The reserve price per MHz of spectrum should factor in revenue expectations due to the low tariffs required for cost conscious Indian consumers.

The Government has a roadmap for implementing Digital Addressable Cable TV systems (DAS) in India in a phased manner. Digital cable systems, based on Data-Over-Cable Service Interface Specifications (DOCSIS), can support broadband and voice services. The current Cable system in India reaches more than 150 million households. The Government should now consider amendments to the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, to provide a guideline for implementing Cable broadband to more Indian households.



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