New Delhi March 25 2019: The Indian government has released the National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP-2018) in its final form.
The policy, 2018 envisages three Missions:
1. Connect India: Creating Robust Digital Communications Infrastructure To promote Broadband for All as a tool for socio-economic development, while ensuring service quality and environmental sustainability.
2. Propel India: Enabling Next Generation Technologies and Services through Investments, Innovation and IPR generation To harness the power of emerging digital technologies, including 5G, AI, IoT, Cloud and Big Data to enable provision of future ready products and services; and to catalyse the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) by promoting Investments, Innovation and IPR.
3. Secure India: Ensuring Sovereignty, Safety and Security of Digital Communications To secure the interests of citizens and safeguard the digital sovereignty of India with a focus on ensuring individual autonomy and choice, data ownership, privacy and security; while recognizing data as a crucial economic resource.
It also adds on the draft policy first unveiled in September last year by setting specific 2022 Goals:
a. Provide Universal broadband connectivity at 50Mbps to every citizen
b. Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats of India by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022
c. Enable100 Mbps broadband on demand to all key development institutions; including all educational institutions
d. Enable fixed line broadband access to 50% of households
e. Achieve ‘unique mobile subscriber density’ of 55 by 2020 and 65 by 2022
f. Enable deployment of public Wi-Fi Hotspots; to reach 5 million by 2020 and 10 million by 2022
g. Ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas
In an early media reaction, Economic Times in an editorial today writes:
The new National Digital Communication Policy 2018 sensibly stresses affordability and availability over direct revenues from licensing and spectrum allocation. Former CAG Vinod Rai would be dismayed and the entire narrative of a huge telecom scam because spectrum was not allocated on the basis of revenue maximisation dented, but the people of India and the economy stand to gain from this clarity on what the goal of telecom policy should be. The government deserves to be congratulated on this count. The policy’s vision of offering universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen is welcome. Highspeed broadband will fuel the growth of new transactions and businesses based on them, and the income this generates will grow the government’s revenue as well.