Achieving India's broadband penetration goals requires a light-handed regulatory approach and not a pervasive, heavy-handed one, according to the chairman of US telecom regulator FCC, Julius Genachowski.
Speaking at a FICCI-organised conference on 'The road to broadband - investment and innovation' in New Delhi on Friday, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman J S Sarma and Genachowski both agreed that a wider consultation between the two regulators on positive lessons in both countries would substantially assist policy development.
TRAI is preparing to release a consultation paper on India's broadband sector while the US, which is also yet to achieve 100 per cent broadband adoption, has only recently implemented its national broadband policy.
There was consensus among senior industry leaders that voice telephony in India had blossomed because of minimal regulatory interference, which allowed for better network management, pricing, outsourcing to lower cost sources, and flexibility in building infrastructure. They agreed that a similar gentle regulatory approach must be followed in broadband as well.
Genachowski is likely to engage in talks with department of telecommunications secretary P J Thomas, information technology secretary Chandrasekhar and Sarma on several other key bilateral and policy issues as well.
India's telecom story is a mixed bag of excellent performance in voice telephony and an extremely slow start for broadband penetration. According to the latest data, India has roughly 70 million internet users but less than 10 million broadband users. Broadband penetration is vital for India's information infrastructure and delivery of health, banking, and education over wireless and internet.