Millennium Post

‘Cable men keen to provide broadband by tweaking tech’

Cable operators have shown interest in providing broadband connectivity to consumers by tweaking technology — a move that will increase Internet penetration in the country, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.

“I am very excited to note that lot of cable operators have come forward to deliver broadband in urban areas by tweaking of technology,” Prasad said at an event here. The Department of Telecom (DoT) is exploring the idea of using the services of cable operators and multiple system operators to provide broadband connectivity.

The idea is that cable TV provides last mile connectivity and this can be used to provide broadband connectivity by tweaking technology. The minister had earlier stated that the government is open to the use of satellite technology, drones or special balloons for providing broadband connectivity to all the gram panchayats under the NOFN project. 

The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project aims at providing the basic infrastructure for the Digital India programme. It aims to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by December 2016 and the estimated cost of the project is around Rs 30,000 crore. Prasad said the aim of Digital India programme is to bridge the digital divide between people. 

“We want to bridge divide between digital haves and have nots. Digital India is more for the poor,” he added.  The government has set a target of rolling out optical fibre network across 50,000 panchayats by the end of this financial year, one lakh by March 2016 and another one lakh by end of 2016. 

Terming India as an important player in Internet governance, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said the future architecture of the Web should not be a prerogative of a few and should be open to all.  “India is an important player on international stage of Internet governance. I am happy that USA has decided that the entire oversight mechanism must end by September 2015 or year end,” Prasad said during an Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers event here.

A non-profit organisation, ICANN is responsible for technical maintenance work of central Internet address pools. 

Last year in March, the US government had announced that it was ready to transfer its stewardship of the important Internet technical functions to the global Internet community. ICANN’s contract with the US Government expires in September this year. It is currently working on the transition proposal and has welcomed comments of governments, private sector, civil society, and other Internet organisations from over the world on the future architecture of Internet. “What shall be the future architecture, we are discussing, we are debating, lot of inputs are coming. Since it is in a stage of evolution, I have to await my final call on it,” Prasad said. 

He added that Internet must be equitable, effective, open for all and no one should be able to claim early arrival benefit. “Internet is one of the finest creations of human mind. It can’t become a prerogative of few. Internet has to connect with local to become global,” he said.

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade said India is central to what the Internet is at the global level. “I know everyone speaks about Digital India, but digital world without Digital India simply loses its digital way.” 
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