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Current Affairs

Broadband Readiness Index:  DoT, ICRIER inks MoU

Date: 17 July 2019 Tags: miscellaneous

Department of Telecom (DoT), Ministry of Communications and Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) signed MoU to develop Broadband Readiness Index (BRI). The new index will assess digital readiness both on demand and supply parameters of States/UTs and rank them accordingly. This will help to spur competitiveness among them and create new opportunities in wireless infrastructure space. The first BRI estimate will be made in 2019 and subsequently every year until 2022. It is in pursuance of of National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018, which had recommended developing BRI for States/ UTs to attract investments and address Right of Way (RoW) challenges across India.

About Broadband Readiness Index (BRI)

  • Objective: It will appraise the condition of the underlying digital infrastructure and related factors at the State/UT level.
  • It consists of two parts: (i) Part I: It will focus on infrastructure development based on the measurement of 9 parameters (mentioned below). (ii) Part II: It will consists of demand side parameters such as percentage of households using computers with internet connection, internet users as a percentage of the population, smart phones density etc.
  • Stakeholders involved in development of BRI: State governments and industry associations like Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) and Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI).
  • Proposed 9 BRI Indicators (Part I): (i) Availability of State Policy on RoW and Towers (based on DoT RoW Rules 2016. (ii) Percentage of ROW cases given permission within 60 days of the first application. (iii) Availability of centralized IT Portal for ROW clearances across all Government land and building owning authorities. (iv) Adoption of National Building Code 2016 by State (v) Percentage of mobile towers connected with fibre. (vi) Number. of fibre kms per sq. KM/ per capita/ per 100 households. (vii) Percentage of public institutions/offices connected by FTTX (Hospitals including PHCs, Police stations, Schools and CSCs). (viii) Percentage of towers receiving grid supply (Duration: Urban 20 hours; Rural 12 Hours) and (ix) NagarNet (Number of Public Wi-Fi Hotspots in urban areas) and JanWiFi (Number of Public Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural area).

Significance of BRI

It will provide useful insights into strategic choices made by States for investment allocations in ICT programmes. In the spirit of competitive federalism, it will encourage States/UTs to cross learn and jointly participate in achieving overall objective of digital inclusion and development in India.

It will evaluate state’s relative development and also allow for better understanding of state’s strengths and weaknesses that can feed into evidence-based policy making. The methodology developed as a part of it will be adapted and used on annual basis for systematic evaluation of state-performance on metrics set out as goals for 2022 under new policy.