The government’s goal is to reduce the cost of telecom operations in order to attract more investment to the industry. K Rajaraman, the telecom secretary, spoke at the CII Telecom Summit on Friday and expressed concern about the high cost of maintaining optical fiber networks network is very forbidding.
“(If) we are able to bring down the cost of operations for the telecom network, I am sure that more investment will come. We will be working on that. A lot of policy measures are underway,” he said.
Rajaraman said the government is running a pilot of the ‘Call before you dig’ application in some states to avoid damage to telecom infrastructure while digging roads and doing other infrastructure-related works.
He said that good digital connectivity cannot rest on mobile service only and complimentary connectivity through fiber to support mobile services is very important.
“In urban areas, optical fiber is available. In rural areas, BharatNet has enabled us to reach 1.89 lakh villages so far. Target is to reach 2.2 lakh by the middle of next year for which the work is going,” Rajaraman said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced plans to provide broadband connectivity in all six lakh villages in the country.
Rajaraman said that the work to connect 6 lakh villages is being separately carried out.
Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said that after the Bharat Broadband Nigam Limited merger with BSNL in October, BSNL has issued optical fiber-based broadband connections.
“We have done this to provide the benefit of technology to people at the bottom of the pyramid,” Chauhan said.
According to the minister, the Department of Telecom has made it easier for the industry to renew its licenses as the Department has made the processes faceless.