To make broadband a core utility to citizens, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended to the Government of India to implement BharatNet in the PPP mode to connect 250,000 gram panchayats across the country. It has also been suggested that the digitised TV framework which has come up in the country in a big way should be upgraded to provide broadband to 100 million homes. TRAI has also recommended tweaking the licensing framework to enable Wi-Fi hotspots as almost 800,000 such Wi-Fi hotspots were needed to connect India digitally.
This was stated by RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI, while speaking on ‘India’s Regulatory Priorities for 2017’ on the second day of the India Internet Conference (IIC), 2017. The theme of the conference was ‘Digital India 4 Sustainable Development’, organised by FICCI in association with the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY), Government of India.
Speaking about the overarching principles, Sharma said that TRAI was regulating the sector to ensure consumer protection, quality of service, transparency, growth of the sector and a level playing field for stakeholders. He added that TRAI was regulating the sector to ensure its healthy growth. He also mentioned that TRAI was working towards enhancing ease of doing business and was seeking recommendations from the stakeholders to identify the tricky areas.
Sharma said there were regulations that have lost their relevance over time and therefore TRAI had formed a committee comprising the stakeholders to remove obsolete regulations. He added that TRAI was working towards identifying the important issues while dealing with urgent matters to bring out appropriate consultation papers.
Broadband proliferation in the country was a priority, said Sharma and added that to digitally connect the country, the focus was on creating infrastructure, governance and services on demand and digital empowerment of citizens.