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Prioritise telecom infra for rural areas: CII

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has emphasised the need for the development of telecom infrastructure as priority for enhancing the rural reach. This suggestion was made as part of CII’s five point recommendations to A Raja, Minister for Communications and Information Technology. Manoj Kohli, chairman, CII National Committee on Telecom & Broadband and Jt. MD & CEO of Bharti Airtel Ltd in the CII representation has said "The Industry is fully prepared to take the onus of being Global No. 1 in Telecom by 2014-15 by being an active participant of second phase of Bharat Nirman. In order to fulfill this journey of providing sustainable and equitable growth to the citizens of India, we request the Government of India to enable and provide support on key 5 challenges."
The five point agenda included roadmap for accelerating inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth of broadband in India to reach 695 million users by 2014, including 309 million in rural India, as per CII Broadband Study ‘India 2009-2014: Broadband Roadmap for Inclusive Growth’.
CII has recommended providing autonomy to USO Fund administrator for creation of broadband infrastructure for equitable use of all and to strengthen the infrastructure using funds from the Universal Services Obligation (USO) fund. CII emphasised that the USO body should be given responsibility of laying down high speed backhaul via Fiber To The Kerb (FTTK) infrastructure across the country and provide a single-window clearance and lower the taxes for towers and digging.
With regards to the telecom infrastructure development, CII has said the Government needs to address issues related to tower construction approvals, tower sharing and standardization, providing backhaul for broadband connectivity to all villages, electricity power to be made adequately available at reasonable price, and Pragmatic approach for collection & usage of USO Fund, with a sun-set clause over the next 3 years.                

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