India’s Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha the new Telecom Policy will be application driven as compared to National Telecom Policy, 2012 that was mainly connectivity driven.
Speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, the minister said the new policy will focus on the end users and the newer opportunities for expanding the availability of Telecom services, in view of high speed data services and enhanced expectations of the users to get real time live applications.
The ministry will involv a large pool of experts from outside the department to prepare the new policy, he said. As of April 2017, the country has close to 1.2 billion telephone connections, including 1.17 billion wireless telephone connections and similarly witnessed the rapid growth of the broadband connections that now stands at 276.52 million.
The minister said there was a six-fold increase in Data traffic in India from 561 million GB in the first quarter of 2016-17 to 2,988 million GB in the third quarter of 2016-17, which is a whopping 400 per cent jump.
While service providers are rapidly deploying the 4G technology, the ministry is focusing on the need to expand the connectivity to all parts including the north-eastern and Left Wing Extremism affected areas, with an eye on future generation applications with the 5G technology roll out, he said.
The FDI equity inflow in telecom sector from April, 2016 to March, 2017 was US$5,564 million, which is more than four times the average inflow of about $1.3 billion every year since 2013-14, he noted.
The Minister said similar to road infrastructure that was seen as a pre-requisite for development in 19th and 20th century, the information superhighways are a must for growth in the 21st century.
He said that the Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules, 2016 was notified to ease the cable laying approval process and making it integral part of the “Ease of Doing Business” for Telecom Service Providers.
Telecom Secretary Ms Aruna Sundararajan urged the officials to achieve the target of 700 to 800 million internet penetration in the next five years.