National broadband policy to be sent to Cabinet

New Delhi: Telecom Ministry Wednesday said it will send the national broadband policy, aimed at setting up networks estimated to cost Rs 60,000 crore to facilitate high-speed data and e-governance, to the cabinet in the next few weeks.

"The telecom department will send the National broadband policy to the Cabinet in the next few weeks before which it will be cleared by the Telecom Commission," Secretary, Department of Telecom, R Chandrasekhar said at a FICCI event here.

Earlier, during the day Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal met various operators to discuss the national broadband policy.

In December last year, telecom regulator Trai had came out with recommendations to set up a national broadband network which is estimated to cost about Rs 60,000 crore.

Telecom regulator Trai, which came up with recommendations on the `National Broadband Plan`, had said the project would be financed by universal service obligation (USO) fund (under the DoT) and the loans provided by the government.

The recommendations from Trai came amid the government`s failure to meet its target of 20 million broadband connections by 2010.

Besides, the recommendations on `National Broadband Plan` is expected to facilitate inclusive growth of the country by including large rural population in governance and decision making process and extend to the rural areas better education, health and banking facilities.

Established in two phases, this network would be an open access optical fibre network connecting all habitation with population of 500 and above and would be completed by 2013.

The network will provide easy access to high speed data and information to citizens, promoting thereby the efforts in the field of education, health and others, the recommendations added.

To roll-out the nation-wide networks, Trai has also recommended formation of a government-owned holding company– National Optical Fibre Agency (NOFA).

Besides, the centralised holding company, Trai also recommended formation of –State Optical Fiber Agency (SOFA)– in every state with 51 per cent equity held by NOFA and the rest by the respective state governments.

Both the government holding companies are expected to ring in an annual revenue of Rs 26,000 crore.