The Broadband India Forum (BIF) highly praised the Government of India for increasing the minimum speed for defining broadband from 512Kbps to 2Mbps, a four-fold improvement. This is an important move for consumers and will likely lead to an increase in per capita data consumption and better service.
Improving Quality of Service for Mobile Consumers in India
India is a ‘mobile first’ country, with almost 98% of its broadband users accessing the internet through their mobile phones. The Government and TRAI have identified the urgent need to improve quality of service provided on mobile, and are taking steps to upgrade the minimum broadband speed.
This move will benefit consumers in rural areas, suburban areas, and on the fringes of metros, who rely heavily on video and data-rich apps. It will be a great boon for the “aam janata” at the bottom of the pyramid.
4G Coverage in India
It is regrettable that as many as 45,180 villages in India are without 4G coverage. These villages are ignored in the digital divide and are struggling with weak connectivity. Aroon Deep laments this issue and believes that the definition of ‘broadband’ may draw more attention to these towns.
TRAI upgrading Broadband Speed
BIF applauds the regulatory Authority, TRAI, for recommending in August 2021 that the Minimum Broadband Speed be increased to 2Mbps, and for other measures to improve broadband coverage and enhance broadband speed.
This new mandate of the Government of India to drastically increase minimum broadband, a major step forward in public interest and for the Digital India initiative.
It had been longed for by the ‘Aam Aadmi’, especially in the rural parts of the country, as it holds tremendous significance for a population that relies on video consumption to counter challenges including cultural and linguistic diversity and literacy levels.
Although this upgrade is a big milestone, India still has a long way to go to catch up with major countries like the US, where the regulator (FCC) has already prescribed a minimum broadband speed of 25 Mbps.
Even Bangladesh has a higher minimum broadband speed of 5Mbps. Studies have shown that for good quality video streaming, one needs download speeds higher than 5 Mbps, likely closer to 14 Mbps or 15 Mbps.
According to the Ookla Q4 2020 report, India is number one in broadband speeds among the SAARC countries and sixth in mobile speeds.
Speaking on the announcement, TV Ramachandran, President BIF, shared:
While 2Mbps may not sound good enough for the modern broadband era as one would need much higher speeds for satisfactory experience in applications viz. telecommuting, file downloading, video conferencing, streaming video –both SD & HD, nevertheless this strong nudge provided by the Government will definitely help ensure improved consumer experience and consumer satisfaction. We are confident that the existing large divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ of good internet connectivity will start reducing, thanks to the latest Government action.