The first keynote address at the CEO Conclave organized by Voice and Data included an announcement that India’s National Broadband Plan will be released in a few weeks. Dr. J.S. Sarma, the Chair of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, said in addition that optical fiber will reach every Panchayat with more than 500 people.
Reading between the lines, it appears likely that TRAI will desist from setting ambitious but meaningless MBps targets as is the fashion in many countries. TRAI will recommend a focus on spectrum refarming, in addition to quick action on releasing the 700 MHz “digital dividend” frequencies, identification of new ranges of frequencies, and actions to improve spectrum efficiency. The forced resignation of Minister Raja, which was also announced today, appears to rule out any further assignments other than through auctions.
The second keynote address was delivered by LIRNEasia Chair and CEO Rohan Samarajiva. His presentation assembled evidence from a range of LIRNEasia research to argue that the transition to a data-dominated world would best be achieved in South Asia through multiple paths that included wireless platforms and the extension of the successful Budget Telecom Network Model to broadband. His presentation reinforced the message in Dr. Sarma’s address that South Asia’s broadband plans had to be inclusive, serving to bring the world’s largest concentration of poor people out of poverty in the process.
The well-attended SAARC CEO Conclave drew the regulators of Bhutan, the Maldives, and Nepal in addition to India and CEOs from a large number of companies.