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India announces new broadband policy

NEW DELHI - The government Thursday announced a new broadband policy and as expected has not accepted the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI's) proposal for unbundling the last mile link.

The policy allows state-run telecom companies Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to enter into a commercial arrangement with all the service providers on mutually accepted terms and conditions.

"Recognizing that last mile copperloop is not a bottleneck facility for broadband services, access providers shall be free to enter into mutually agreed commercial arrangements for utilization of available copperloop for extension of broadband services including content," Telecom Minister Dayanadhi Maran said.

He said state-owned MTNL and BSNL, along with other owners of copperloop, are expected to provide about two million connections by the end of 2005.

Broadband has been defined as an always-on data connection supporting interactive services including Internet access within a download speed of 256 kbps per subscribers.

"By the end of year 2010, the policy aims to target 20 million broadband subscribers and 40 million Internet subscribers," Maran said.

(Asia Pulse/PTI)

Oct 16, 2004
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