To increase broadband penetration in the country 301 page document It has recommendations. The regulator noted that based on its internal analysis and inputs received from stakeholders, it found that the existing speed of 512 Kbps is “insufficient to access certain basic applications” and observed that the minimum limit should be 2 Mbps.
“Broadband is a data connection capable of supporting interactive services including Internet access and capable of delivering a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps to an individual subscriber from a point of presence (POP) of a service provider willing to provide broadband service. ” TRAI has said in its recommendations.
The regulator also considered categorizing fixed broadband services on the basis of download speed, as has been done in the UK and Europe. It suggested that fixed broadband connections should be classified into three different categories – ‘Basic Broadband’ for connections with download speeds between 2-50 Mbps, ‘Fast Broadband’ with 50-300 Mbps and above 300 Mbps ‘Super-fast broadband’ with download speeds above. ,
Along with recommending minimum speeds and categories based on download speeds, TRAI in its document stressed the need to increase fixed line broadband penetration in the country. It added that only 9.1 per cent of Indian households have fixed broadband, while a majority of residents have mobile broadband as their only source of internet access.
To improve internet access, TRAI has recommended an interest-cum-cash subsidy scheme to incentivize investment in last-mile linkages for fixed-line broadband and enable operators providing wired internet connections. The regulator also urged the government to create a national portal for Right of Way (RoW) permission for laying fiber and setting up towers.
TRAI also asked the government to subsidize internet access through broadband for the rural population through a pilot Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme. The regulator said the government should consider reimbursing 50 per cent of the monthly fixed line broadband subscription charge not exceeding Rs 200 per month. It also noted that the reimbursement can be processed through e-RUPI which was released by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) last month.
It is important to note that the recommendations made by TRAI are not binding on the service providers. However, the government may consider them and amend the relevant laws.
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