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Lessons from Down Under

Getting Regulation Right Blog Aspect
Dr Archana Gulati
Published Sep 13, 2014
Updated Sep 03, 2023
An article titled “Australia’s Last Chance for Infrastructure Competition” describes failed opportunities as far as introducing competition in the wire line broadband market. This is said to be in stark contrast to the mobile telecoms segment where competition and innovation have flourished. The article states that the government is now looking to promote platform competition in high speed broadband.(HSBB)
I am always sufficiently wary of superimposing models from the developed world on to the Indian telecoms scenario because apart from many other aspects, regulatory structures and capacities and penetration levels are different, but I do believe that we can learn something from their experience.
I have written earlier under the same labels as this post in favour of a technology neutral and multi-operator, approach to high speed broadband penetration in India. Getting NOFN / BBNL off the ground in my view would be a Herculean effort whose success in the near future if at all is doubtful. The earlier USOF approach of tendering out region-wise HSBB network projects would work much better as it would allow many operators other than the incumbent to participate. Investment and innovation would take off and the roll out would be much quicker bringing much needed broadband to our young aspiring population,especially in rural India.
Previous USOF OFC schemes suffered from flaws such as overspecialization of technology but had several progressive features such as mandatory open access and even allowing the selected Universal Service Provider to complete the project by renting  bandwidth from existing players to  (rather than necessarily laying fresh OFC). USOF India needs to think beyond PSU led nation wide OFC networks if we are to progress. A technology mix in wire line broadband would be welcome. Please see my previous posts in this regard.