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TRAI to soon release paper on broadband service roll-out

Posted on Aug 20 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 20 : The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is expected to come out with a paper on the nation-wide roll-out of broadband services by the end of the next month, its chairman Rahul Khullar said here Wednesday.

"Hopefully we will come out with the paper on broadband by the end of next month," he said at a seminar on 'broadband highway' organised by the industry chamber ASSOCHAM.

The TRAI will invite views of public on issues related to broadband services rollout in the country.

On the sidelines of the seminar he said that the sector regulator is planning to soon issue a consultation paper on the regulatory framework for the Over-the-top (OTT) players like Whatsapp, WeChat, Viber, Skype, etc.

Khullar expressed his disappointment over the rollout of broadband network in the country. He said: "Our progress has been disappointing.

He said against the aim of 1.85 lakh km cable, only 15,000 km has been laid so far while only 2,000 km of ducting has been done against the aim of 6 lakh km.

The National Optical Fibre Network project is scheduled to provide broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across the country at an estimated cost of around Rs.20,000 crore.

He stressed that the country needs more spectrum. "We need more spectrum, otherwise there is no point laying more cable for broadband. The government needs to decide very soon on releasing 700 Mhz spectrum."

Talking about the stand-off between various government departments on the issue of releasing spectrum due to security concerns, Khullar said: "There must be some way to put a stop to this standoff between one department of the government with the other over the security reason. I think it is time for the Department of Telecom to be more aggressive."

Regarding availability of more spectrum Khullar further added: "This is something we've already made recommendations on as far back as 2012 but unfortunately it did not make progress for various reasons."

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