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Chicken or egg in broadband policy

Many new issues worth further exploration emerged at the Expert Forum we concluded in New Delhi yesterday.

One thing that was stated by officials was that the private sector was not stepping up to purchase the capacity offered by the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN). Unlike in other countries, the access offer is not complete (supposedly, some tariffs have been published; with some serious discounts on offer). Imagine offering a service without full information on what to do if the NOFN fails. So, what comes first: NOFN access rules or the private operators lining up to buy capacity?

At another point, there were claims that Indians were not buying enough smartphones. Not enough smartphones; not enough apps. But then, why buy a smartphone when 3G coverage is as common as a traffic-free street in Delhi. If the various parties had got their act together and released 3G frequencies earlier (Europe released more than 10 years ago; even Sri Lanka had 3G service since 2005 or so), perhaps there’d be more reason to invest in smartphones.

Chicken, or egg?

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