India’s fixed-line broadband infrastructure a matter of worry: Trai’s Sharma

It cannot be that for customers you can raise as much as you want, but you can't take it below a certain threshold," Sharma told ET.It cannot be that for customers you can raise as much as you want, but you can’t take it below a certain threshold,” Sharma told ET.NEW DELHI: Sector regulator Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) said that India’s fixed-line broadband infrastructure represents a poor scenario and added that telcos should look at addressing download speed.

“Broadband health is not good in India in context of wireline connections to people. Fixed-line infrastructure is in poor state with average speed in a relatively bad scenario,” Trai chairman RS Sharma[2] told ET. Telecom watchdog reiterated country’s gloomy wired broadband health at a time when telecom service providers are reeling under immense financial pressure amid falling tariff due to disruptive foray of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio[3] Infocomm last September.

Sharma, however, was instrumental in taking India’s wired broadband penetration up and had already suggested a slew of initiatives to the Department of Telecom (DoT[4]) including use of cable television infrastructure. Lately, telecom carriers such as Bharti Airtel, new entrant Reliance Jio and state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) have shifted much focus to wireline broadband rollouts, and also compete with regional players such as ACT Fibernet and Hathway. UK-based Vodafone’s India arm had in April 2016 acquired YOU Broadband that has a cable infrastructure in 18 cities.

Mumbai-based Jio is aggressively focusing on fibre-based network dubbed as JioFibre, offering speed upto 100 Mbps while market leader Bharti Airtel is majorly relying on copper line. US-based content delivery firm Akamai said that India had the lowest average Internet speed with 3.5 Mbps (megabits per second) in the Asia Pacific region. Only 30% nations have above 4 Mbps speed with 2.6% having 15 Mbps and 6.6% with 10 MBps speed, according to Sharma.

In 2012, all telecom service providers have agreed to have an average speed, Sharma said, suggesting that it was an area that requires much focus. Trai, has however, revised a minimum speed to 2 MBps from January 2015, and suggested a 100 Mbps speed on demand. Speed is one of the key factors which attract potential users to become broadband users, according to the telecom watchdog.

In the National Broadband Plan, regulator had though earlier recommended a minimum of 10 Mbps download speed per household in at least 63 large cities by 2014.

India had 18.68 million fixed-line broadband subscribers as of January 2017 with BSNL taking a lead for providing fixedline services to 10 million subscribers while Airtel had 1.9 million broadband customers as of March 31, 2017.



  1. ^ Trai (
  2. ^ RS Sharma (
  3. ^ Reliance Jio (
  4. ^ DoT (

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