Mr. Rajeev Talwar, President, PHD Chamber delivered the welcome address while Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal, Chairman, Telecom Committee PHD Chamber, moderated the session. Mr. Aggarwal stated that all the highway construction companies may be asked to put a common duct in the highways. He also mentioned that a minimum guarantee of per day data consumption should be given with every connection. He added about the need of a National Building Policy which will include that the buildings, complexes and malls should have chambers for broadband connections. He further added that Telecom being a National subject, the states must be involved.
Industry Session included:
P. Balaji, Director, Vodafone Idea started the session by congratulating the PHD Chamber for choosing a relevant and future looking topic under the presidency of Mr. Rajeev Talwar. He stated that there is a need of investing 100 Billion dollars to become 1 Trillion digital economy. The implementation of few recommendations should be done in terms of weeks, months and not years which will help to propel the vision. He further added that Vodafone – Idea is the largest telecom company in India and they have always been open to the idea of sharing the available resources as that is a great way to reduce costs, drive value to Consumers, Govt. and Stake holders.
Mr. T V Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum, mentioned there is a need to be cooperative and not competitive for expanding the fiber network. He also pointed out the major gap where China has 80% fiberization and India on the other hand has only 20% fiberization.
Mr. T. R. Dua, DG, Tower & Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) said that the Indian telecom industry is one of the most competitive and fastest growing markets globally. He further added that with the exponential increase in the data usage by the consumers there is an urgent need to enhance capacity and coverage to meet demands of today and the needs of the future. 100 cities have been identified by the Government to transform the city to smart cities. This would require setting up of robust telecom infrastructure such as a robust fiber network to transform the cities to smart cities.
Chief Guest of the Interactive Session, Dr. R. S. Sharma, Chairman, TRAI in the inaugural session said that Telecom is not just communication substance but affects every vertical. He added that unless we have enough fiberization, we cannot achieve the goal of digitalization. He further added that Land is a state subject, No uniformity in the policy implementation between the Central and State Governments with reference to land. Presently there is three tier administrative control on land. There are some structural issues which affects the implementation. “Today, India is transporting more data through its telecom networks than
data transported by networks of US and China put together. Also, the data consumption in India is more than twice the average consumption of the US. But in case of India, about 93 per cent of the data is coming through wireless and seven percent through fixed line. In contrast, globally almost 46 per cent of data is transported through fixed lines and 54 per cent through wireless networks. He appealed to the Industry to create a structure or a system. The idea of “Common Duct Policy” can be implemented in Public-private partnership (PPP). PPP Arrangements need newer players in the Scheme. The State Government and Municipal Corporation have to be made the stakeholders. TRAI is happy and keen to promote any kind of advisory to the State Govt. and the other Stakeholders. TRAI can form a State Committee to help in the implementation of the “Common Duct Policy”. TRAI shall be happy to participate even at the State Levels.
Dr. Mahesh Y. Reddy, Secretary General, PHD Chamber gave the Vote of Thanks.
Mr. Sunil Singhal, Advisor, TRAI chaired the Technical Session on “Common Duct Pilot Project in Delhi”. He started by saying that Broadband is now a Utility. The Govt. Departments should have a special provision for broadband within policies. Many countries have made broadband a fundamental right with a certain minimum speed. The Rajenhaat, new town in Kolkata as the Common Duct and the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon in Haryana, has started working in this area. He additional said that the critical factor is that the utilization of services will depend on their affordability. He further added that the National Building Code has already made it mandatory to use fiber in the buildings, though it is not mandatory for State Govts. and Local builders.
Industry Session included:
Ms. Roop Sharma, President, COFI started by raising a question that is there any provision for Private Cable Operators in the “Common Duct Policy”? The operators have 25 years of experience of laying cables in every area. She added that if a private company lays the cable, then there should not be discrimination against small players.
Mr. Gaurav Bhardwaj, Country Manager – India, Milliken & Company showed the presentation on the smart duct that is already being laid in abroad by their company. He claimed that the duct utilization is a challenge and the capacity needs to be utilized fully.
Mr. Sanjay Singh, Head Network (North), Hinduja Media Group said that Maintenance of the Chambers/Ducts and the fiber is most important. He also said that there should be “One Fiber One Connectivity” policy.
Mr. Sankarnarayana G, President & COO, Asianet Satellite Communications Ltd. said that the output on the cable is very low. The power problem and power consumption is an issue. Partnering with the local cable operators should be done to penetrate broadband in every home. He added that instead of leasing the duct, the fibers should be laid and leased to companies.
Atul Kumar Goyal, President, URJA detailed that there is a need of dispute redressal mechanism. Competition will bring down cost for the users and hence the price of services. It should not be monopolistic. There should be ownership of the Common Duct. He suggested that the Ministry of Urban Development should take up the Common Duct Policy and then the implementation as well as ownership can be centralized. Department of Telecom and Ministry of Urban Development have to work together.
Mr. Satya N Gupta, Former Principal Advisor, TRAI & Country MD South Asia, Bluetown India PvtLtd , the Session Moderator said that Setting up a utility corridor can optimize roll out and management ofall infrastructure. A strategy to collaborate with all upcoming utility and infrastructure projects will optimise execution. Design, planning and coordination is need of the hour and countries such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Qatar already have utility ducts in place. In areas, where infrastructure is lacking in terms of roads, power and water, fibre must be laid along other pipes when a stretch of land is being trenched. This will help achieve infrastructure optimisation.
The PHD National Committee on Telecom along with TAIPA had made a presentation on “Common Duct Policy” with certain suggestions, copies of which have been forwarded to the Ministries & other stake holders.