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We have done a terrible job in broadband penetration: Rahul Khullar

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MUMBAI: The chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Rahul Khullar is known for being vocal. While earlier he has voiced his opinion on various things including bringing transparency in the way telcos function, delivering his keynote address at the India Digital Summit of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in the capital, he candidly admitted that the rollout of National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) was not-so successful. He said, “We have done a terrible job in broadband. We are nowhere near to meeting target of NOFN and unless it is done, internet penetration cannot happen at the desired pace.”

Referring to the fact that 80 per cent of new internet users are coming through 2G network, Khullar said, “Access and speed will determine penetration of smart-phones and internet. Unless there is reasonable pricing of spectrum and making spectrum available, we will not succeed.” He opined that the next government has to take immediate action on spectrum availability to have successful internet penetration in India.

IAMAI chairman and Google India managing director Rajan Anandan, talking at the inaugural ceremony said: “India is adding four million active internet users every month. At this rate we will overtake the United States by end of this year to become the second largest internet market.”

According to Anandan, India’s e-Commerce industry will be around US $100 billion in the next decade. However, investments of upward of US $3 billion will be required to reach that stage. “And that can only happen if FDI in e-Commerce is allowed,” said Anandan.

“Given the dire strait of our finances, e-Commerce industry should embrace itself for taxation,” remarked Khullar, who also raised the issue of data protection, privacy and internet governance and said that industry members should come forward along-with civil society in creation of internet governance laws.

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