The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has on Tuesday released its recommendations on “Roadmap to Promote Broadband Connectivity and Enhanced Broadband speed”, as per which definition of broadband has been reviewed and the minimum download speed for broadband connectivity reviewed upward from the present 512 Kbps to 2Mbps. Based on download, speed, fixed broadband has been categorized into three different categories – basic, fast and super-fast.
In a bid to encourage lakhs of cable operators to provide broadband services, the authority’s past recommendations on “ definition of revenue base (AGR) for the Reckoning of License Fee and Spectrum Charges” has been reiterated. Also, TRAI recommended providing backhaul connectivity on optical fibre using the BharatNet network with Service Level Agreement.
Further, to incentivise investment in the last-mile linkage for fixed-line broadband, TRAI recommended to notify a skill development plan and an interest subvention scheme for cable operators registered as micro and small size enterprises.
It recommended creating a national portal for “RoW permissions” to facilitate expeditious rollout of telecom and other essential utilities infrastructure. Also, to incentivise establishment of common ducts and posts for fiberisation of networks. In line with BharatNet Project, exempt RoW charges for next five years for expeditious laying of common ducts and posts.
“Target linked incentive i.e. license fee exemption on specified revenue to eligible licensees for proliferation of fixed-line broadband services in urban and rural areas,” as per the recommendations.
Furthermore, TRAI recommended a pilot direct benefit transfer scheme in rural areas for proliferation of fixed-line broadband subscription. After ascertaining the practicality of the pilot DBT scheme in accelerating the growth of fixed-line broadband services, specifics of the DBT scheme like eligibility criteria for beneficiaries, quantum of benefits, and period of the scheme, to be worked out subsequently.