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DoT signs MoU with ICRIER to develop broadband readiness index for states and UTs

July 17, 2019
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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) to develop a broadband readiness index (BRI) for Indian states and union territories (UTs). The first estimate of the BRI will be made in 2019 and will continue subsequently every year until 2022.

The development of the BRI comes after the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 recommended that a BRI for states and UTs should be developed to attract investments and address right of way (RoW) challenges across India.

The BRI consists of two parts. The first part will focus on infrastructure development based on the measurement of nine parameters while the second part will include demand side parameters which will be captured through primary surveys. It will include indicators such as percentage of households using computers/ laptops with internet connection, percentage of households with fixed broadband connection, internet users as a percentage of the population, smart phones density, percentage of households with at least one digitally literate member, etc. The primary survey will be conducted annually until 2022.

The index will appraise the condition of the underlying digital infrastructure and related factors at the state/UT level. Such an exercise will provide useful insights into strategic choices made by states for investment allocations in information and communication technology (ICT) programmes. The index will also encourage states to cross learn and jointly participate in achieving the overall objective of digital inclusion and development in India. The framework will not only evaluate a state’s relative development but will also allow for better understanding of a state’s strengths and weaknesses that can feed into evidence-based policy making. Further, the methodology developed as a part of this research will be adapted and used on an annual basis for systematic evaluation of state-performance on metrics set out as the goals for 2022 under the new policy. As a result, ranking and understanding State/UT performance over time will be an important part of the exercise.

The development of the BRI will be a collaborative exercise with stakeholders including state governments and industry associations like the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). This will be a first of its kind exercise that will comprehensively measure the development of telecom infrastructure at the sub national level.

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