Telecom reforms to infuse liquidity, create enabling environment for 5G
India’s telecom sector reforms are poised to boost 4G proliferation, infuse liquidity and create an enabling environment for investment into 5G networks, said the Economic Survey 2021-22 tabled by Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Monday. It said that in the backdrop of the “outstanding performance” of the telecom sector in meeting COVID-19 challenges and with a huge surge in data consumption due to online education, work from home, interpersonal connect through social media, virtual meetings, the reform measures for the sector will further boost the proliferation and penetration of broadband and telecom connectivity.
Apart from telecom infrastructure expansion, the government has taken a slew of measures to bring about reforms, the survey said and outlined the structural and procedural reforms undertaken in the Indian telecom sector that represents the world’s second-largest telecommunication market.
Survey said India’s telecommunication sector is one of the most powerful sectors impacting social and economic development of a country, and a strong and a responsive regulatory framework has kept the service access at reasonable prices. It said that the government has taken further measures to ensure fair competition among service providers with the view to benefit the consumers.
Telecom is among the most powerful sectors impacting the social and economic development of a country, the survey said observing that the relevance of the sector has “increased immensely”.
The same is reflected in key metrics, such as growth in total telephone subscriber base, steady increase in internet subscribers, and broadband connections.
In the last few years, the telecom sector in India has become data-driven following reducing costs of data due to the fierce competition in the sector. This has boosted data usage further.
A case in point is the average wireless data usage in a gigabyte (GB) per data user per month that has increased “tremendously” to a whopping 14.1 GB per month in Q1 FY22, from just 1.24 GB per month in Q1 FY18.
The number of mobile towers has risen substantially to reach levels of 6.93 lakhs towers in December 2021, “reflecting that the telecom operators have well realised the potential in the sector and seized the opportunity to build up an infrastructure that will be fundamental in boosting the government’s Digital India campaign”.
Listing out the progress on the connectivity front, it said that under the flagship BharatNet project, 5.46 lakh km optical fibre cable has been laid, a total of 1.73 lakh Gram Panchayats (GP) have been connected by Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) and 1.59 lakh Gram Panchayats are service-ready on OFC, as of September 27, 2021.
A boost to the telecom infrastructure is also being given under the aspirational district scheme while thrust on the provision of submarine optical fibre cable infrastructure will spur high-speed internet and broadband connectivity.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey 2021-22 along with Statistical Appendix in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the Budget session of Parliament. India.com
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