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India regulator proposes $13.04bn national broadband network

09 декабря 2010

India's telecommunications regulator Wednesday suggested setting up of a broadband network covering the entire country at an investment of INR600 billion ($13.04 billion), as it seeks to take faster data-transfer and Internet services to most villages.

The plan, submitted to the government's Department of Telecommunications, proposes to offer 75 million broadband connections over the next two years and 160 million connections by 2014, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in a statement.

On an average, just eight among 1,000 Indians have access to broadband as of Sept. 30, compared with about 610 to telephone services, leaving a large untapped market. Also, the country is likely to meet only half of its target to have 20 million broadband users by the end of 2010.

The Telecommunications Commission, the highest decision-making body on policy issues within the telecom department, will now consider the regulator's suggestions.

The regulator said an optical fiber network with open access to carry broadband services could be established in two phases. It could be financed by the government's universal service obligation fund and loans given or guaranteed by the government.

It suggested to complete the first phase, covering all cities as well as urban and some rural areas, by 2012. The second phase, extending to all villages with a population of at least 500, could be completed by 2013, the regulator added.

It also proposed setting up national- and state-level optical fiber agencies to establish the networks and said these agencies could together post annual revenue of INR260 billion.

To make broadband affordable, the regulator has also sought import tax exemptions and faster depreciation on equipment.

Источник: Total Telecom

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