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Q. Need to improve internet access: Discuss the need to improve the quality of internet access in India.
Nov 07, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

Internet services has transformed in high speed in last one and half decade. Having large population, most of them are young, internet usage in India has witnessed very high growth. India has about 462 million internet users currently. Availability of low cost mobile devices and small denomination data plan has enabled increased usage of internet in India. E-commerce is expected to be a big driver of data consumption over the next few years. 

Need to improve- 

  • India’s internet user-base has grown despite spectrum scarcity, poor network speed and patchy connectivity. 
  • Data consumption has been limited by the above factors, as well as by limited content availability in local languages. 
  • The average speed of internet connections in the US is 26.1 Mbps according to Cisco Visual Networking Index forecast. The comparable number for India is 5.1 Mbps, forecast to rise to 12.9 Mpbs in 2020.
  • Issue of shortage of spectrum will be addressed after next round of auction, which is expected to be held later this year, but cost of the spectrum remain an issue.Auctions have brought in transparency, but driven up costs. Unaffordable spectrum does not help consumers in the long run, and even the Government will ultimately lose out

Suggestions-

  • There is an urgent need to address these issues, hence Government and telecom industries must seriously look into these aspects.
  • There need to improve infrastructure bottlenecks to provide quality internet access, which will automatically drive up consumption. 
  • Government needs to make more spectrums available and telecom industry needs to plan more efficient use of the available spectrum and fix connectivity issues. 
  • Both, government and industry also need to make available content suited for consumers of different socio-economic groups and in the language they understand. 
  • Tailored content is needed for governments and industry to achieve their individual objectives. Content in local languages is essential for the growth of e-governance as well as government-to-citizen engagement.

Conclusion-

As internet usage in India is growing rapidly, but not the quality of service. Hence there is an urgent need to improve the quality of internet access. Increased usage of internet is also mean increase in economic activity and creation of new jobs, all of which can fetch the Government more tax revenues on a sustained basis. Hence Government and telecom sector must look in these aspects very seriously.

 


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