Public sector telecom giants BSNL and MTNL will launch their broadband services throughout the country on January 15, 2005 at Rs 500 per month.
While Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Ltd will launch the services in Delhi and Mumbai, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd will do it in Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad on the same day.
Announcing this while addressing the first meeting of the members of the consultative committee attached to his ministry in New Delhi on Friday, Minister of Communications & Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran said the department is targeting around 10 million broadband service users by the year 2007.
It will be another success like the mobile telephone services revolution in the country, he said. Maran was speaking on the recently announced New Broadband Policy, which was the main item on the agenda for the meeting.
Though the broadband connection at 256 Kbps costs Rs 3,000 in the market, the PSUs have agreed to provide the same services at Rs 500 a month.
While VSAT could be used as small hubs, the government is also allowing DTH operators to operate broadband Internet and uplink after fulfilling necessary licensing conditions. He further stated that the government has relaxed the conditions for outdoor use of frequencies to promote Wi-MAX and Wi-Fi.
Elaborating on the features of the New Broadband Policy, Maran said the policy has been finalised after taking into consideration all relevant aspects, including the recommendations of TRAI on accelerating growth of broadband and Internet.
Maran assured the members that the department will also closely monitor and facilitate the spread of broadband and will take corrective measures as and when required.
Since the government is committed to promoting advanced technologies and is not favouring any particular technology the service providers are free to opt for the technology of their choice, he said.
The government has decided to encourage and make small operators of Cable TV to depend on the big players, such as BSNL, MTNL or any other private players, and they can also make use of broadband for their customers.
The government has also announced recently State Wide Area Network (SWAN) policy, National Internet Exchange (NIXI) and (In) domain policy, he said.
Speaking about the digital divide, the minister said that while tele-density in urban areas is 25 per cent it is only between 1.2 and 1.5 per cent in the rural areas.
The members appreciated the steps taken by the ministry in the area of broadband and stated that the new policy provided the flexibility and opportunities for further growth in telecom sector.