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There is more to Broadband Penetration than Physical Infrastructure

Getting Regulation Right Blog Aspect
Dr Archana Gulati
Published Sep 26, 2013
Updated Sep 03, 2023
This is a theme that runs through by blog. In this case I am speaking not only about broadband enabled services and capacities of stakeholders but also the need for a vibrant market with multi-stakeholder participation and abundant competition at every level, infrastructure, services and content.
An article in the Economic Times titled “Why Broadband is Stuck”  by Mr Pradip Baijal, draws attention to the heavy reliance on PSU incumbents in India to the detriment of outcomes. An example cited by him is the present NOFN scheme which is still in the roll out phase. He speaks about the need for sharing available infrastructure including the aspect of unbundling available fixed line infrastructure. There is also a mention of spectrum sharing. 
What this boils down to is Telecom Regulation. I have argued time and again in  this blog about the need for regulation to keep customer interest in focus and that encouraging competition is one of the best ways of doing so. As regards, the regulatory issues in universal access to broadband services in the Indian context, my article titled “Universal Service Policy in India-Theory and Practice” pointed out the damage done to rural wire line and broadband penetration by regulation that favoured the incumbent at the cost of competition and growth  of services. This paper was written in 2010 but we perhaps have not progressed much in practice as is evident from USOF India’s current activities.