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Internet Subscriber Base Not In Line With Targets : Kapil Sibal


Wise Old Owl
Internet subscriber base in country not in line with govt targets: Sibal

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal shared that at the end of March 2012, there were 22.86 million Internet subscribers in India. Unfortunately though, the numbers have been a lot lower than the target that was set for 2010. Sibal informed the Parliament that the low numbers were the result of multiple factors that came in its way. Elaborating further, he shared that the number of Internet subscribers as per the data by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for the last three years was 16.18 million (2009-10), 19.67 million (2010-11) and 22.86 million (2011-12).

Reportedly, under the Broadband Policy 2004, the government had targeted 6 million, 18 million and 40 million Internet users for the years 2005, 2007 and 2010 respectively.

Numbers way below targets, reveals Sibal (Image credit: Getty Images)

As for the numbers for wireline Internet subscribers, they were 6.7 million (2005), 10.36 million (2007) and 18.69 million (2010). It has been known that the policy had targeted a broadband user base at 3 million, 9 million and 20 million for 2005, 2007 and 2010 respectively. Shockingly though, the actual numbers stood at 0.90 million (2005), 3.13 million (2007) and 10.99 million (2010).

Interestingly, as per the policy, an Internet connection with a speed of 256 kbps and higher is categorised as broadband. Highlighting the factors hampering the growth of Internet and broadband in India, Sibal shared that there is a "lack of interest in private operators, for broadband expansion in rural areas being non-remunerative".

“Difficulty in laying optical fibre cable (OFC) network due to the issues related to right of way clearances and high cost of right of way charges," he went on to add.

Sibal shared that the other obstacles include high backhaul cost, low PC penetration, high cost of customer premises equipment, low literacy levels, lack of local content and poor power supply.

Interestingly, Sibal has revealed that furthering its plans to provide Internet at cheaper rates, the government has approved a scheme for creation of a National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) to offer broadband connectivity to 247,864 village panchayats. Reportedly, the project will be funded by USOF and initial estimated cost of project is Rs 20,000 crore. The proposed period for the completion of the project is 2 years. "On completion of the NOFN project, non-discriminatory access to the network will be provided to all the categories of ISPs,” Sibal elaborated.

It has been known that the aforementioned NOFN project is being put forth by a Special Purpose Vehicle - Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. The company was incorporated on February 25, 2012 under Indian Companies Act, 1956. It is fully owned by central government, with equity participation from the government, BSNL, Railtel and Powergrid.

"These access providers/service providers like mobile operators, ISPs, cable TV operators, content providers can launch various services in rural areas. Various applications for e-health, e-education, e-governance etc will be provided," he added.

News Sources

The real question is that with internet censorship on rise can this be tamed. And the congress is only interested in making more money, now they want to connect rural areas with optical fibre... sheesh another scam in the making. Whats the point of optical fibre throughout the country where you cant provide 24x7 truly unlimited high speed internet @ 10mbps at affordable prices?

e-governance..... OMG. :conspiracy:


Living to Play
Let them first connect the whole India let aside Fiber network. Internet speeds here are more of a joke.


Steam High Templar
GIVE ME 8MBPS TRUE UNLIMITED INTERNET @ 699 YOU FAT GEEZER.and then talk about "connecting whole india trough optic fiber"
and first get india educated,her citizens 24x7 power and cheap PC's


BSNL ain't fixing my BB connection and it's over 1 month!
This guy can't protect his own damn website and day dreaming!


Legend Never Ends
The definition of broadband by Government(256 kbps) is also not in par with international standards lol.

And what about the 66a?


Sith Lord
Staff member
uh duh there is something wrong here
donno why OFC infrastructure is so vital for internet spread here, when we already have so much copper cabling for phone wires, these can easily be converted to data lines
we had the infrastructure in place like 20 years ago, the problem is entirely with how this infrastructure is being used
stop with the scams and monopolizing on the channels, then not only internet, but the internet content will break through too, otherwise you have a situation where 2g is more expensive than 3g
this is wired internet stats, people may be in the process of leap-frogging over desktop usage directly to mobile usage, even feature phones now offer email, social networking... to the point where a desktop is getting redundant
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