India pursuing bold strategies for universal Internet access by 2022: Indian-American official

Vastavam web: India is pursuing bold strategies to achieve the ambitious goal of universal Internet access by 2022, a top Indian-American official has said, highlighting the challenges in building broadband networks in rural areas. The Indian government is working to improve the online infrastructure and Internet connectivity through the ‘Digital India’ programme with a vision to transform the country into a digitally-empowered society and knowledge economy.

“I commend Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and the Indian government for their ambitious goals of universal Internet access by 2022 and fixed broadband access to 50 per cent of households by 2022,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said at the India Ideas summit of US-India Business Council here on Wednesday.

“To meet these targets, they’re pursuing bold strategies such as installing two million public Wi-Fi hotspots in rural areas and redesigning and expanding the Universal Service Obligation Fund,” he said. Pai said despite the good news, millions of Indians and Americans still live in rural areas where there is currently no case for the private sector alone to build broadband networks. Advertise With Us “As is the case in parts of Assam, Uttarakhand and Karnataka, we have communities in Alaska, Utah and Kansas that don’t have access,” he said.

To connect these communities, FCC’s Universal Service Fund provides federal subsidies to private carriers to leverage additional investment. The US has begun allocating some of this support by using a reverse auction which harnesses market forces and a diverse array of technologies to maximise the impact and efficiency of this investment, Pai said