Government looking to increase minimum internet speeds to 2Mbps: Report

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As India is looking at a future embracing 5G technology, it is crucial to get the existing internet speeds in order. Currently, the minimum-mandated internet speed in the country is just 512Kbps, which is far lesser than global speeds which float around 50-70Mbps. In order to boost the internet speed on mobile and broadband networks, the government is looking at increasing the mandatory speed to at least 2Mbps and more.

Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that the government was mindful of slow internet speed experienced by internet users in many parts of the country. Even as there is widespread adoption of 4G and a significant chunk of the population is moving towards 3G, there lies a significant gap between what is promised and what is delivered when it comes to internet speeds.

“We are very slow. While we have done a lot on (providing internet) access, we have not been able to actually deliver the quality of service that is required,” Sundararajan told ToI. “2Mbps is the basic minimum. We should definitely mandate this. If at all, it should be higher than that. It cannot be lower than that,” the telecom secretary is further quoted as saying.

The telecom secretary further said that the country needs faster speed in the wake of the gradual transformation of the country to a digital economy. These include initiatives such as smart cities, Digital India programs, efforts on digital payments, and 5G.

The statement comes in wake of the recently concluded India Mobile Congress, at the center of which were talks about implementing 5G in India. The next-gen technology looks at not only making high-speed internet access available but also intends to mass-introduce Internet of Things (IoT) applications. ALSO READ: The buzz is great, but 5G on Indian phones is still a distant dream

Reliance Jio‘s commercial launch of its 4G VoLTE services late last year has fueled the demand for high-speed, affordable internet access in the country. According to OpenSignal’s June report, the entry of Reliance Jio has pushed the entire country into greater LTE availability, but average 4G speeds have lowered. Based on the report, Singapore has the highest measured 4G speed at 46Mbps, and India stands embarrassingly low at just 5.14 Mbps. Meanwhile, the average 4G speeds in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Iran stand at 11.71Mbps, 10.42Mbps, and 10.24Mbps respectively.

Meanwhile, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in its ‘Consultation Paper on Data Speed Under Wireless Broadband Plans’ that incumbent telecom operators are averse to the idea of having a higher threshold for internet speeds, owing to a range of concerns, which include low coverage zones, high rise buildings, external factors such as device quality, peak time, transmission bandwidth, and website behavior among others. ALSO READ: Huawei aims to make India 5G-ready, aims to invest $600 million by 2018



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