The objective of organizing the programme was to highlight the importance of information and communication in all phases of life and future advances in communication technologies. The discussion would further add in building societies in which they can create, access, use and share information and knowledge to their full potential. The discussions will also work as stepping stones towards toning up of national policies, filling up the technological differences , promoting connectivity, fostering global interoperability of systems and curbing physical distances globally through internet, television, phone etc.
ICT entrepreneurs and start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a particularly relevant role in ensuring economic growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner. They are involved in the development of innovative ICT-enabled solutions with a unique potential to make a long-lasting impact in global, regional and national economies and as an important source of new jobs, especially for youth, in the current knowledge economy.
The theme for WTISD-16 is in accordance with Resolution 68 and as endorsed by ITU Council 2015 and is in line with ITU’s work in unlocking the potential of ICTs for young innovators and entrepreneurs, innovativ e SMEs, start-ups and technology hubs as drivers of innovative and practical solutions for catalysing progress in achieving international sustainable development goals, with a focus on SMEs from developing countries.
The Seminar started with a welcome address by Gopal Jiwarajka, Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Mr. Rakesh Gupta, Chairman, Entertainment and Media Committee, PHD Chamber gave the theme presentation. Other dignitaries who addressed the gathering included Sandeep Agarwal, Chairman (North), Telecom Equipment Services Export promotion Council, Sanjeev Shriya, Chairman – ICT Committee, PHD Chamber, Anupam Srivastava, Chairman & MD, BSNL, Savitur Prasad, Principal Integrated Financial Advisor, Ministry of Defence, Ms. Annie Moraes, Member (Finance), DoT, and Mr. N Sivasailam, IAS, Additional Secretary, DoT.
A technical session was held in the evening with the theme ‘Transforming Indian Telecom and ICTs’. Mr. Sandeep Marwah, chairman Marwah Studio was the Session Chair and speakers included Mahmood Ahmed, Joint Administrator (USOF), Ashwani Salwan, DDG – Broadband, USOF, NK Gupta, Director (CFA), BSNL, Dhruv Agarwal, Director, Paramount Cables, Vimal Wakhlu, Former Chairman & MD TCL, N. Parameswaran, Former Principal Advisor (NSL) TRAI, N K Goyal, President, CMAI, Pankaj Mohindroo, President, Indian Cellular Association and Roop Sharma, President, COFI.
Mrs. Roop Sharma spoke about the role of cable operators as ICT entrepreneurs and how they have helped the society empowering with global information and brought the awareness to the masses on national and global issues impacting the common man. Cable TV was perhaps the first such technology that impacted the society in such a big way in India. “When we started the cable networking, there was no internet and mobile; neither there was any satellite channels and people were still grappling with the use of computers”, said Mrs Sharma. She said that “the impact was so great that by 1995 we had connected 10 million households using our own technology innovations and content distribution”. It is sad that the government did not realise the importance and neglected the industry and ignored its potential.
Some of the suggestion given by Mrs Roop Sharma to bring cable networks in the fold of broadband infrastructure are as given below:-
Recognise cable TV as Telecom Infrastructure
Use LCOs to give Broadband to Panchayats integrating these networks with the Bharat Net
Let Telecom networks provide back haul services.
Provide technical knowledge- Skilling the cable TV workers
Financial support through banks/ institutions and USO Fund.
Exempt Digital equipment of Duties on Import ( Telcos get the same equipment duty free).
Promote Indigenous manufacturing- ‘Make in India’
Right of way (Intercity or state). Rationalise electric pole charges
One window clearance for laying OFC networks, using existing Railways, NHAI, GAIL, Municipal Corporations, PWD networks
Provide Low cost Bandwidth to operators serving the rural /underdeveloped areas.
Exempt MSOs of annual ISP Licence Fee for five years
Provide incentive schemes for LCO to give good/ efficient services to the consumers.
Digitisation strengthens Cable TV Networks
Digitisation has given us another opportunity to utilise the technology but we need a change in our focus, more on infrastructure and less on content. Both are very different sectors.
Digitisation encourages two way Cable TV allowing interactivity, offering a new experience to consumers different from an old style Idiot box that made couch potato of the viewer.
• Now TV is a smart device allowing TV shopping, banking, live search of content and much more without having a broadband connection in the home.
• Government can do e-governance on TV. Disaster warnings and other community messages can be broadcast interrupting a programme
• It allows PPV (Pay Per View) programming.
• It offers over the top services of OTT where consumer can view the content of Cable TV on any device in the house any time of the day. They can live-search content on TV and record for ‘TV Anytime’ experience.
• Today the STB has been transformed into a media gateway in the house.
• ICT allows geo targetted advertising
• It has enabled small and Medium level MSOs to spread their network all over the country using leased lines, competing with National players.
• Today local and regional MSOs are using mobile apps to provide content-on-demand experience to their consumers on television sets without an internet connection.
At the end it was concluded that our policies must be made in a way to facilitate the industry develop into a viable business model for providing broadband services including in the rural areas so that fruits of ICT can be enjoyed by the rural population too.