Fixed broadband, WiFi hotspots, digital investments must for sustained, all-round growth: Trai chief
Deployment of innovative and contact-free processes across verticles in the post-COVID-19 era, thrust on fixed broadband, fibre-to-home and in-building solutions, proliferation of WiFi hotspots, and massive investments into digital infrastructure will enable India to reap full benefits of digital technologies, Trai Chairman R S Sharma said on Wednesday.
Sharma’s policy prescription also included utilising cable TV infrastructure for providing broadband, VSAT links for backhaul connectivity, leveraging 5G, use of high-capacity E-band and V-band for backhaul, as well as promotion of cloud services, data centres and video conferencing applications.
Speaking at an event organised by the Broadband India Forum (BIF), Sharma said applications developed must have the ability to positively impact lives of people, contribute to employment, increase productivity, open markets, improve skills and living standards of the common man.
“We must also realise that howsoever sophisticated a technology may be, these are useless unless they benefit the common man. Having an account on some social media platform and expresssing views and sharing photos cannot be construed to be end of applications.
“We must continue to develop appplications that positively impact lives of people, contribute to employment, increase prodctivity, open markets, improve skills and living standards of common man,” he said. Calling for modification of building bylaws to accomodate telecom infrastructure, the Trai chief said telecom must become as essential as electricity and water pipes.
“All multistorey buildings cater to that (other utilities)…however when it comes to telecom, they start charging the money from telecom service providers, they are so perverse,” Sharma said. Connectivity and digital technologies will play the “most important role” in India’s digital journey, with Digital India occupying a central place in this growth trajectory.
Sharma lauded the National Digital Health Mission announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15. He said the application that will run on internet would pave the way for cost-effective, virtual consultative processes and medical delivery systems, enabling a health ecosystem where health records can be pulled out with patient’s consent, in a paperless environment.
“One of the most important things we as country must do is to invest in digital infrastructure which will ensure a sustainable growth. India is an extremely price-sensitive market and something which is frugal, interoperable and robust will take it along the development path,” he said.
Sharma also advocated deployment of innovative contact-free processes across verticles even in the post-COVID-19 era, and said that the country needs to focus on massive growth in fixedline broadband and building of robust fixedline infrastructure. He said the use of high-capacity E-band and V-band for backhaul connectivity is a recommendation of Trai that “should be acted upon quickly”.