Global broadband race: India falling behind


24 May 2015
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Global broadband race: India falling behind

The growth of communication technology, mobile telephony and internet adoption in the last decade outshines every other sector and are enablers for many emerging industries like e-commerce, e-governance and e/m-banking. It is critical for the emerging economies to invest and develop the digital communication technology to stay competitive. As per the ITU statistics the Internet users around the globe increased from 400 million in 2000 to 3.2 billion in 2015 and the global internet penetration grew by 7 fold from 6.5% to 43% in the same period.

As per Work Bank, every 10% increase in broadband penetration in the developing countries results in 1.3% increase in the GDP. With these important contributions to the economy, broadband has become a key parameter to measure a country’s growth, both economically as well as socially.

Global Scenario

Australia: The National Broadband Network (NBN) plan of Australia started back in 2005 to develop the broadband connectivity in the country. As per OECD, Australia ranks 3rd in terms of wireless broadband penetration with 115% penetration while the fixed broadband penetration is about 27%. The average broadband speed in Australia is 7.8 Mbps. The Australian government spent $37.4 billion for the NBN project till 2013-14 and the NBN is expected to reach the entire mass by 2021 providing fibre-to-the-home service to 93% of households.

New Zealand: With a budget of $2 billion, the National Broadband Plan of New Zealand started in 2010. The broadband policy includes 2 major initiatives i.e. Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI). 90% of the schools, hospitals and businesses had been connected by UFB project by 2015 and 80% of the citizens are expected to get access to the UFB broadband by 2022. The average speed in New-Zealand is 8.7 Mbps, a 23% growth from 2014 taking the country to 42nd position in terms of broadband speed.

South Korea: South Korea remained the leader with highest average broadband speed of 20.5 Mbps. The mobile broadband penetration is 99%, average mobile penetration is 112% while the FTTH subscribers are over 60%. The broadband policy called Ultra Broadband convergence Network (UBcN) aims at high speed connection of 1 Gbps speeds on fixed lines and 10 Mbps on wireless.

US: US initiated the policy in 2010 to develop the broadband infrastructure across the country. The private sector has invested almost $1.4 trillion on telecom development since 1996. Their priority (i.e. first do no harm) to secure internet, protection of intellectual property and improved use of spectrum rather than the speed has seen the US falling behind in the broadband race. The average broadband speed in the US is 12.6 Mbps with a global rank of 16.

UK: The UK broadband plan was to invest £530 million to stimulate commercial investment and to bring high speed broadband to rural communities reaching 90% of the households and further investment of 250 million pounds to extend superfast broadband to 95% households by 2017. The average broadband speed has increased to 13 Mbps in 2015 while the average broadband adoption reached 87% with a global rank of 27.

India: The broadband policy in India started back in 2004. While the telecom subscriber base has touched the billion mark the internet subscribers in India is just 319 million out of which 109 million people use broadband. The Internet teledensity is only 25.37 in 100 subscribers. The National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) initiative started in the year 2011 to connect 250,000 gram panchayats, but is witnessing multiple delays. The funding has also been increased from `200 billion to `720 billion. The high speed 4G services are yet to see major commercial launch. The minimum broadband speed is set at 512 kbps which seems poor in comparison to world average of 5.1 Mbps. The success of Digital India and Smart City projects depends on the success of NOFN project and increased adoption of broadband in India.

We have a lot of catching up to do when we compare ourselves with other countries.
Not just the broadband, main point is affordability. What is the point of providing broadband if it is beyond the reach of Aam Admi. If current telecom providers provide unlimited 3G packs at Rs 200-400 range there will not be any issue with broadband connectivity but that's never going to happen as these companies never invested in fiber connectivity to connect their towers :dodgy
Less than 100 Mbps speed should not be qualified as Broadband. TRAI should imply this rule. Price of Broadband should not be higher than Rs. 1500-2000 and there should be noting called FUP.
sas123 said:
Less than 100 Mbps speed should not be qualified as Broadband. TRAI should imply this should. Price of Broadband should not be higher than Rs. 1500-2000 and there should be noting called FUP.

When fastest broadband speed of world is around 25 Mbps(Korea), your demand is too much :lol
Company say 4G is good speed but when will we get 3G? I use idea 4G but many time it show 2G or some time 3G and one or two time 4G
Multiple reasons - India is a huge country with huge population. Australia, New Zealanad South korea has negligible population as compared to India plus they have very high income. India needs huge investment to cover the whole country plus more the population more sturdy backhaul network is needed to support the high speeds. Its not an easy story for India, china, Brazil like countries to provide good broadband service.
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