Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday assured all stakeholders in the telecom industry that his government will address their concerns and support the growth of this crucial sector with forward-looking policies.
"I am aware of some concerns of the telecom industry regarding government policies in the telecom sector," the prime minister said, inaugurating the India Telecom Summit, organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Ficci in New Delhi.
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"I wish to reassure industry of the government's full commitment to sustaining growth, creativity and enterprise in this vitally important sector of our economy," the prime minister added.
His comments come against the backdrop of his meeting last week with the heads of five top private sector telecom companies in India, who expressed concern over lack of available spectrum and the ban on sharing these precious airwaves among them.
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Those from the industry at the meeting were Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani, Aditya Vikram Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Vodafone Group chief executive Vittoria Collao and Tata Sons director Ishaat Hussain.
"I would like to take this opportunity to assure all of you that our government will continue to formulate forward-looking policies that will encourage further growth of the telecom sector," Manmohan Singh said.
According to the prime minister, India was today the fastest growing telecom market in the world, adding 18 million new connections to the network every month. In the process, wireless tele-density had grown from 2 per cent in 2000 to 72.1 per cent now.
He said the new draft telecom policy aimed at 175 million broadband connections by 2017 and 600 million by 2020 at a minimum download speed of 2 megabits per second, from 12.8 million at present. All village blocks will also have broadband access by 2014.