National Broadband Mission Connecting India
DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY IN INDIA: CURRENT SCENARIO
- Digital Connectivity is being given tremendous importance in transforming India into a digitally empowered society, which is also the vision of the Digital India programme. Connectivity is one of the key requisites for holistic growth across sectors in the country.
- As mentioned by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Ideas Summit 2020, there are around half a billion active internet users in the country today. India has witnessed a quantum jump of over 10 times in terms of broadband penetration, which increased from ~61 mn subscribers in 2014 to ~625 mn subscribers in September 2019. India is also the largest consumer of mobile data in the world, with a monthly consumption average of nearly 10 GB per subscriber.
- The Telecom sector in India has been continuously growing over the years. To further boost and enhance broadband infrastructure, the National Broadband Mission (NBM) has been launched by the Government of India.
VISION OF THE NATIONAL BROADBAND MISSION
- The “National Broadband Mission” or “Rashtriya Broadband Abhiyan” aims to operationalize “Broadband for All”, the objective of National Digital Communications Policy – 2018 (NDCP-18). NBM also aims to bridge the digital divide in the country, fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure, facilitate digital empowerment & inclusion and provide affordable, universal access to broadband to all.
- NBM has been structured to rely on the following three principles which are also the intrinsic features of broadband services:
- Universality: Ubiquitous availability of broadband services to bridge the digital divide
- Affordability: Availability of affordable broadband services to every citizen of India to bridge the socio-economic divide
- Quality: Availability of high speed and highly reliable broadband access to all
OBJECTIVES OF THE NATIONAL BROADBAND MISSION
- Enable universal and equitable access to broadband services for growth and development, specifically in rural and remote areas
- Address the requirements of the policy and regulatory changes to expedite the expansion and creation of digital infrastructure and services
- Create a digital fibre map of the country which shall include the digital communication network (Optical Fiber Cables) and infrastructure (Towers) across the country
- Collaborate with stakeholders like the concerned Ministries/ Departments/ Agencies, and Ministry of Finance, for enabling investments for the mission
- Collaborate with the Department of Space for availing adequate resources to extend connectivity to far-reaching areas of the country through satellite media
- Encourage and promote adoption of innovative technologies for expansion of broadband especially by the domestic industry
- Seek cooperation from concerned stakeholders by developing innovative implementation models for Right of Way (RoW)
- Collaborate with States and Union Territories to have consistent policies for expansion of digital infrastructure including for RoW approvals required for laying of Optical Fiber Cables
- Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and conducive policy ecosystem within a State or Union Territory
- Promote direct and indirect employment through the development of the digital economy and digital communication infrastructure across the country
OUTCOMES OF THE NATIONAL BROADBAND MISSION
- The National Broadband Mission of India is all set to realize the goals of National Digital Communications Policy 2018 and the vision of 'Broadband for All'. To take the country to the next stage of the digital revolution and create a truly digital society, the following outcomes are envisaged:
- Broadband access to all villages in the country by 2022
- High-speed broadband connectivity in the country
- Increase route length of Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) in the country to 50 lakh km
- Increase the density of telecom towers in the country
- Connect at least 70% of the telecom towers in the country with fibre
- Strengthen existing 4G infrastructure and facilitate 5G deployment in the country
- Promote Make in India
THRUST TO MAKE IN INDIA
- Various initiatives of the Government of India to digitize the economy include the Digital India programme, National Digital Communications Policy – 2018 (NDCP-18) and the National Broadband Mission. All these initiatives support ‘Make in India’ in one way or the other.
- The National Broadband Mission, being the latest initiative, is all set to promote domestic manufacturing and extend support to Make in India. Policy measures that enable the proliferation of wireless broadband services will encourage private players to invest in the industry. Providing incentives to homegrown broadband products in the network through large scale trials and deployment will further promote Make in India.