Global report recommends extension of broadband by 2015

NEW DELHI: While today 75 per cent of all households have a TV, only 25 per cent have Internet access. In the developing countries, home Internet penetration is as low as 12 per cent.

The World Telecommunication Development Report 2010 released in India recently has noted that while major achievements have been made over the past five years, substantial efforts are required in developing countries to achieve the goals and targets by 2015.
The report makes three main recommendations on the policies and measures needed to help achieve the targets: ensure that half the world population has access to broadband by 2015; Build an ICT-literate society globally; develop online content and applications.

For this, governments can take a number of concrete steps such as ensuring access to broadband infrastructure for all citizens. Policy-makers in developing countries, in partnership with the international community, should continue to commit resources to connecting educational institutions to ICTs and to adapt the curriculum. The development of online content and applications in local languages should be promoted, for example, through the digitization of books and documents to create an e-culture. With more than half of the Internet users speaking languages with non-Latin scripts, the recent opening up of Internet domain names to non-Latin script characters is an important development.

Finally, highlighting the importance for setting clear policy targets and monitoring progress, the Report proposes a list of 50 concrete indicators to monitor the targets over the next five years, until 2015.  
The report comes in the wake of a consultation paper by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India expressing concern that broadband penetration in India is low in spite of the fact that 104 telecom service providers are providing broadband services. The broadband penetration is just 0.74% when compared with teledensity of 52.74%. A need is being felt to identify impediments and create an environment to encourage broadband growth.The net broadband addition per month is just 0.1 to 0.2 million in contrast to approximately 18 million mobile connections per month.
Though 70% of Indian population lives in rural areas; broadband facility is limited to metro and major cities. Availability of broadband is critical for development of rural areas. Out of total 9.0 million broadband subscribers at the end of April 2010, just 5% are in rural areas. The low broadband penetration in rural areas is attributed to non availability of transmission media connectivity upto village level.

The Report further pointing to the lack of local content, in local languages says the web is still largely dominated by the English language, though only around 15 per cent of the world’s population understands it. The declining proportion of English-speaking Internet users suggests that non-English speakers are increasingly going online. The growing number of websites that are registered under country domain names is another indication for the web content diversification.

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