India to Set up 1,12,000 Broadband Centres In Rural Areas

The Ministry of Communication & IT would garner US$ 2 billion investment to set up 1,12,000 Community Service Centres in rural India to provide it with broadband connectivity in 2008-09 itself, discloses the State Minister for Communications & IT, Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia.

Delivering his address in the 2nd Day ASSOCHAM organized Global Telecom Summit here on Saturday, Scindia further disclosed that US$ 1.5 billion investment for providing broadband access to rural India would be generated through private sector. Remaining US$ 0.5 billion of investment would be poured into the project from government sources, added the Minister. The Minister clarified that 1,12,000 community service centres would be set up in 2008-09 at various places in all part of the rural India 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 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.

The Ministry of Communication & IT would unfold its 3G service guidelines by June and their execution would be effected by end of current calendar, said the Minister. The aim of the new policies would also be to provide wireless telephone and mobile telephone to almost every households of rural India as promised by the UPA government by 2010, said the Minister.

He called upon the telecommunication players to adopt a collaborative approach, the benefits of which should become available to end-users as tariff have fallen and there is much more scope that tariffs for short and long distance calls should further come down, provided there is unanimity in the collaborative approaches of telecom manufacturers and policy makers.

Speaking on the occasion, T V Ramachandran, Chairman, ITU Regional Working Group for Private Sector issues called for new convergence policy which is due for long 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 are yet to be framed, he asked.

Sujata Dev, Managing Director, TBSL, C S Rao, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Communications Convergence Committee and its Secretary General, D S Rawat jointly called for initiatives through which voice transfer and internet movement can be run through mobile telephones.

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