“The National Broadband Mission of 2019 will ensure broadband services to all villages by 2022. We have created a massive digital infrastructure to make India ready for the next level in the digital economy,” Dhotre said at the ETTelecom Digital Telco Summit 2020.
The national mission aims to accelerate the growth of digital infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, and provide affordable and universal access of broadband to 1.3 billion Indians.
The ambitious initiative includes laying of nearly 30-lakh kilometer route optical fiber and increase tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of the population by 2024 and improve the quality of mobile and Internet services.
Under the mega BharatNet initiative, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has connected more than 1.40 lakh village panchayats or blocks.
The National Digital Communication Policy 2018 was brought in to further strengthen India, and its telecommunication muscle, the minister said.
With a Rs 70,000-strong Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), a corpus to aid rural telephony, Dhotre said that the government aims to connect the remaining 27,000 villages that do not have mobile connectivity and located in the remote and far-flung areas of the country including northeastern states, the Himalayan region, Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected areas.
“We are committed to supporting the efforts for transformational telecom technologies, we are committed to necessary efforts in the telecom sector,” he said.
Dhotre said that for the development of telecom infrastructures, such as fiberisation and tower densification, Right of Way clearances from various Central and state agencies are required and the department is working on it.
“The new and emergent technologies such as 5G, M2M, and artificial intelligence (AI) need to be supported by incentivising them for the accelerated transition so that we are not left behind in the fourth industrial revolution,” the minister added.
Digital India, according to him, is not merely for the sake of going digital, but it was meant for achieving the governance system that is simplified, accessible, affordable, and equitable.
Dhotre said that the government would certainly do whatever is required so that the telecom sector continues to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country and for the benefit of consumers.
“Continuous interaction with all the stakeholders, including the partners from the industry, is key to the growth of any sector. It is necessary to understand the concern and take suggestions from all at the same time for the rapid development of the nation, the minister added.