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TRAI to float consultation paper on broadband by September end: Khullar

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will come out with a consultation paper on broadband by September end, chairman Dr Rahul Khullar informed at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi.

“The authority has been working on broadband issues and hopefully we will come out with a paper on broadband maybe by the end of next month,” said Dr Khullar while inaugurating the ‘Eighth Mobile India Summit: Broadband Highway-Driving India’s Growth Story’.

Referring to the roll-out of the national optical fibre network which aims to connect 2.5 lakh village panchayats with high-speed broadband by 2017, Khullar acknowledged that India’s progress in terms of broadband has been very limited.

“Very honestly, our progress has been disappointing. Of the 1.8 lakh km cable that has been, ordered 15,000 has been delivered which is just about 8 per cent, of six lakh km for ducting, actual achievement is about 2,000 km which is about 0.3 per cent, the optical fibre cable pulled is about 250 km which is less than 0.05 per cent of the target, and all this has been achieved in past two years,” Khullar lamented.

He further stressed the need for targeted approach to achieve broadband policy objectives. He also focused on the scope to use available private infrastructure in conjunction with already existing public infrastructure.

Later speaking on the sidelines of the event, Khullar said that TRAI will also release a consultation paper on over-the-top (OTT) players like WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, and WeChat who facilitate free calls and messaging services. Telecom subscribers are required to pay only internet charges to their operators for using OTT services.

The authority had recently organised a seminar on ‘Regulatory Framework for OTT Services’ with the aim to provide a platform for exchanging views on key issues related to OTT such as new developments in OTT, impact of OTT on TSPs and their counter measures, legal and regulatory framework for OTT.