Prasad announces big plans to boost broadband connectivity

Minister of communications and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has announced plans for laying 750,000 km of cable lines over the next few years for providing broadband connectivity in every village of the country.

In a feeble attempt to address the shortage of spectrum, which is up for auction around February, Prasad said, "This project aims at digital empowerment of people and will be a game changer.''

He made no mention of the cost of the project or where the funds would come from.

Prasad was addressing a meeting organised under the MyGov Samvaad programme. MyGov is an internet-based platform for citizen engagement launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26 July.

The minister also felicitated 20 best contributors for their ideas and responses from out of over 40,000 responses, a government statement said.

India now has about 300 million internet users – among the largest in the world, the minister said. He omitted to add that the services provided were basic, and the failure of state-run telecom providers  accounted for the unexpected spread of mobile services.

Prasad pointed out that while mobile connectivity in urban India is 146 per cent, it is only about 46 per cent in rural areas.