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Fundamental rethink needed on satellite communications policy: Sundararajan

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 21, 2018  | 17:41 IST

New Delhi, Nov 21 (PTI) India must have "fundamental rethink" on satellite communication policy to meet rising connectivity needs that are being fuelled by mobile data growth, digital aspirations and advent of new-age technologies, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said Wednesday. Sundararajan outlined the massive growth in mobile data consumption, driven by first-time users, and India's increasing digital clout, and said there is "no looking back" for the country when it comes to strengthening its communications infrastructure. She said that in an era of 5G and Internet of Things (IOT), the demand for communication infrastructure "far from slowing down, will increase exponentially". "We must have digital communications infrastructure that facilitates all this...We really must have a fundamental rethink on India's satcom policy in light of what are the emerging requirements and India's aspirations," Sundararajan said addressing annual Satcom Summit 'India SatCom-2018' organised by Broadband India Forum (BIF). She further said that the demand for communication network is also being propelled by financial service industry, digital payment companies, smartphone usage and social media. Sundararajan noted that the draft national digital communications policy aims to provide universal broadband connectivity at 50Mbps to every citizen by 2022, create four million additional jobs, and also talks of enhancing the contribution of digital communications sector to 8 per cent of India’s GDP, from the about 6 per cent now. "If we are to achieve robust modern digital communications infrastructure that the country needs...it has estimated the need for investment at USD 100 billion. Often we, in government, are asked if that is a high figure but I don't think so...I think this is realistic investment number in sync with our infrastructure requirements," she said. Stating that the country must embark on comprehensive review of its satellite communications policy, she stressed on the need to strike a balance between autonomy, security and the country's communications demand. "...it is possible to find a sweetspot between these three aspects. Other countries have done so, and I don't think it is impossible for India to strike a calibrated position keeping these three imperatives in mind...Keeping our strategic capabilities and requirements in mind, we need to look at how we can bridge the deficit in term of communication requirements," she pointed out. The summit also delved on various aspects including broadband connectivity to the remote parts of the country, satellite mobility, inflight connectivity, new technologies and innovations. PTI MBI MKJ

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