As explained above, our present approach is unlikely to get us there. So what can be done?
A prerequisite for this is a collaborative, end-to-end strategy and a problem-solving approach to formulating and executing policies, regulations and processes. The participants must include the central ministries and agencies (department of telecommunications, department of electronics and information technology, information and broadcasting, Defence, finance, the armed forces, security agencies); the regulator (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India); state governments; public sector units and their associated ministries/departments; operators. The judiciary and the public must also be involved, because disruptive actions, such as those leading to the arbitrary cancellation of some 2G licences, can be as damaging as dysfunctional policies or regulations.
Our trials must validate solutions such as for rural broadband being workable in our situation and circumstances. These trials will need to be extended in phases, both in terms of scope and of scale - for example, for the active sharing of TV and other spectrum, and of Radio Access Networks, through rural and urban field trials. These will test usage by multiple operators in a given area. Once proven, policies and procedures can be developed and implemented across the country.
Shyam (no space) Ponappa at gmail dot com
1. For problems with deploying the NOFN or fibre-to-the-curb, see: "Reality check on the broadband dream".
2. "Model City for demonstrating and evaluating advanced sharing technologies": fcc.gov/document/fcc-and-ntia-model-city-advanced-sharing-technologies