TRAI raises minimum broadband speed to 2Mbps, suggests reduction in internet fees in rural areas

TRAI raises minimum broadband speed to 2Mbps, suggests reduction in internet fees in rural areas

For broadband connectivity, the minimum download speed has been increased to 2 Mbps from the existing 512 Kbps. On the basis of download speed, fixed broadband is categorized into basic, fast and super-fast.

The current broadband penetration in India is around 55 per cent.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday increased the minimum broadband speed from 512 Kbps to 2 Mbps, up from 256 Kbps and 56 Kbps in the previous years, the minimum speed so far. TRAI has released a 298-page list of recommendations to improve broadband connectivity in India.

The regulator said in a statement, “The definition of broadband has been reviewed and the minimum download speed for broadband connectivity has been increased to 2 Mbps from the existing 512 Kbps. On the basis of download speed, fixed broadband has been categorized into basic, fast and super-fast. The speed of a basic connection is between 2 Mbps to 50 Mbps, while the speed of a fast connection is between 50 Mbps to 300 Mbps. At the same time, the speed of a superfast connection is more than 300 Mbps.

TRAI has suggested a pilot Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) program to encourage users to switch to broadband connections in rural areas. According to the plan, the government should consider reimbursing 50 per cent of the monthly broadband fee, provided a customer is paying a maximum of Rs 200 per month. Since the reimbursements will be in the form of DBT, the customers will get the money in their linked bank account.

These suggestions given by TRAI

TRAI suggested that once the possibility of pilot DBT is explored, the specifics of the plan like eligibility criteria for beneficiary, reimbursement amount, duration of the plan, etc. should be worked out.

TRAI suggested giving incentives like waiver of license fee for companies offering internet connectivity to promote and increase the speed of fixed line connections. “Initially, the proposed intensive, ie eligible license holders, should be allowed exemption in license fee for a minimum duration of five years. “The need for more intensive requirements beyond the initial five years may be reviewed in the fifth year keeping in view the policy priority and technical development at that time,” the regulator said in a statement.

TRAI said that the current broadband penetration in India is around 55 per cent, compared to 95 per cent in China and between 95 and 115 per cent in European countries. Fixed broadband penetration in India is 1.69 per 100 people, compared to 44.6 in France, 42.8 in Korea and 42.7 in Germany.

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