Convergence India stresses on need to push broadband penetration

NEW DELHI: Though largely eclipsed by the more glamorous Ficci- Frames in Mumbai, the three-day 19th Convergence India Expo in the capital once again proved that India is at the doorsteps of a major revolution aimed at merging entertainment with new media and newer technologies.

Featuring about 430 exhibitors from 25 countries and around 1500 delegates in five halls of Pragati Maidan, the meet also had as many as 16 conference sessions with over 100 speakers on the basic theme of “Nextgen Applications and Services: Empowering A Billion Lives.”

Organised by Exhibitions India with the support of the Information and Broadcasting and the Communications and Information Technology Ministries, the meet was inaugurated by Minister of State for C and IT Sachin Pilot and participants included Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman J S Sarma.
Interestingly while experts put India at No. 13 globally in terms of broadband connections and reach, Pilot said the Government was not satisfied with a reach of less than one per cent and wanted all stakeholders to join in the effort of spreading broadband access.

Noting that ‘the technology agnostic government needs to adapt itself to the latest developments’, Pilot said: “Convergence has happened faster than anyone expected."

However, Indian ICT industry has all the ingredients to lead from the front. Looking ahead at the huge potential of BWA in India, the Minister said: “Different parts of the country have different definition (for Broadband).However, it should make tangible difference in people’s lives we are targeting.”

India offers a large market place for all the stakeholders in the communication value chain. It was time for ICT players and regulators of the Government to take collaborative efforts to provide high speed broadband services in rural areas and best services at the most affordable price, he added.

There was general consensus in the telecom industry on the business case for going green. Operators who have been looking at energy saving options to reduce their operations felt around 25 per cent-30 per cent reductions were achievable through green energy options. The amount of savings for a pan-India operator, based on this magnitude, would translate into over Rs 1 billion per quarter.

Reiterating the significance of growing importance of Broadband in India, Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh said: “India’s growth in broadband in 2010 - second only to China and the United States - is leading towards the country soon becoming one of the top ten users of broadband in the world.” India added more than 2.5 million new lines of broadband last year."
Speaking on his first visit to India, Mersh added that “there has been tremendous and consistent growth in the broadband across India in recent years, yet this is just the tip of the iceberg”.

The participants at the Expo represented the Telecom, IT, Broadcast, Media and Entertainment, Green IT, Security and Surveillance, Cable, Satellite, IP Surveillance and Information Security sector to showcase cutting edge technologies, products and services.

The opening panel on “ NextGen applications…Empowering a Billion Lives” was attended by industry stalwats such as Sarma, Bharti Enterprises Deputy Group CEO & MD Akhil Gupta, Uninor EVP & Head Corporate Affairs Rajiv Bawa, Director Marketing (Wimax Forum) Declan Byrne, Chairman (ETSI Technical Committee DECT) Gunter Kleindl; Cellular Operators Association of India Director General Rajan S Mathew, Mersh, and LTE Solution ( Huawei Telecommunications) President Weimin Ying.

A white paper on the Convergence industry, “3G Gets Underway in India”, prepared by Shiv Putcha, Principal Analysts, Ovum, was released on the occasion.

A special session was conducted by Huawei Telecommunications to highlight strategies for successful implementation of LTE technology. The conference also covered discussions on digitalization, 3G, wireless broadband, network health, VAS, rural infrastructure and green ICT.

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