3G pushes Internet access to rural areas

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New Delhi, Dec 8: J S Sharma, Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) spoke at the Internet and Mobile Association of India"s (IAMAI) 5th India Digital Summit in Delhi on Tuesday, Dec 7. On the occassion he assured that by 2012 every gram panchayat in the country would be connected to broadband Internet.

The country is gearing up for the launch of 3G services that has the potential to change the way phones are used. 3G is the next generation mobile communication technology, which provides faster internet access, video conferencing and much more, that is far better than the present 2G or 2.5G service.

However, as the various stakeholders involved in this area - from telecom providers to device manufacturers to content providers are all obsessed in arguments about technology and revenue sharing, Sharma said, “TRAI would play a key role in resolving this issues and maximise the quality of 3G service."

Sharma addressed these points and revealed the government's upcoming rural broadband plan, the details of which were not given out yet. Sharma said, “by 2012, every gram panchayat in the entire country will be connected to broadband Internet and we will reach every village with more than 500 people as early as 2013."

Taking broadband services to rural area is directly connected to economic growth and the development of social indices. Sharma added “The development of telecom can help all infrastructure development. Broadband access will change the frequency of access, and provide a definite boost and once this hits critical mass, I believe it will be even more relevant to our development than the mobile phone."

Sharma said, “we have all the ingredients for greater growth but if we do not use it properly then we can't hope for growth. Presently we will focus 3G service only on urban areas, meanwhile deliver connectivity through fiber optic lines to rural areas. The whole infrastructure needs to be rebuild and the way to do this is through value added services."

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