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Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Getting Regulation Right Blog Aspect
Dr Archana Gulati
Published Nov 11, 2013
Updated Sep 03, 2023
An article in the Economic Times today laments that poor rural teledensity is lie to hamper achievement of India’s broadband target of 175 million subscribers by 2017. Teledensity in rural India is crawling and is at present 41.64% compared to urban teledensity of 146%.We still have only about 16 million broadband connections. The usual culprits have been blames-poor rural demand and higher costs of rural roll out including non availability of fibre. 
I have recently written about NOFN/BBNL and why it should focus on its core objective of providing           non-discriminatory OFC backhand rather than trying to become a vertically integrated service provider. We already have one such public sector operator in BSNL (which has continuously resisted sharing its fibre with other service providers in spite of regulatory recommendations).
The poor results of USOF‘s substantial funding to the incumbent BSNL for rural wire lines and broadband are evident. Perhaps there is a need to review the entire strategy of promoting rural telecommunications. Perhaps the solution lies in a more level playing field via regulation (fixing the market efficiency gap) and public funding that encourages private participation. Please also see my previous articles on competition.