The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a number of proposals to improve broadband connection in the country, one of which is to set the minimum download speed for broadband access at 2Mbps. This is four times faster than the existing minimum broadband speed of 512Kbps, which was set by the FCC in 2014 as an improvement to the previous 256Kbps level. TRAI further suggests that the government expedite fixed-line broadband expansion in rural regions by reimbursing 50% of monthly subscription charges. Its proposals to improve broadband penetration in the country are included in a 301-page paper. According to the FCC, the present 512Kbps speed is “inadequate for accessing even certain basic applications” and that the minimum threshold should be 2Mbps, based on input from stakeholders and internal studies.
“Broadband is a data connection that is able to support interactive services including Internet access and has the capability of the minimum download speed of 2Mbps to an individual subscriber from the point of presence (POP) of the service provider intending to provide broadband service,” TRAI said in its recommendations.
The regulator also explored categorizing fixed broadband providers based on download speeds, as has been performed in the United Kingdom and Europe. It proposed classifying fixed broadband connections into three categories: ‘Basic Broadband’ for connections with download speeds of 2–50Mbps, ‘Fast Broadband’ for connections with download speeds of 50–300Mbps, and ‘Super-Fast Broadband’ for connections with download rates of more than 300Mbps.
TRAI further suggests that the government expedite the sale of available mid-band spectrum from 3300MHz to 3600MHz airwaves and allocate millimeter wave (mmWave) range spectrum to improve mobile internet speed in the country. It also proposed that the government establish a centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) to incentivize states and union territories to reform RoW.