Encounter: India, Nepal may join hands for rural telecom service

Kathmandu, November 9:

Nepal and India could work together in utilising the telecomm for the benefit of rural masses. Though they did not discuss any particular project and just shared the experiences during a programme in the valley recently, they have, however, outlined some of the areas where they can work together.

“There is a huge potential,” Kuldeep Goyal, the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), said adding that telemedicine is one of the examples. “It became possible due to the development of Information and telecommunication (IT), which is yet untapped in our region,” he said.

Goyal was on Kathmandu visit to attend conference of CEOs organised by Voice and Data to interact on telecom develo-pment in SAARC and how to exte-nd the telecom facility beyond cities for rural development.

However, the rural teledensity is relatively low in India and in Nepal as well. “Teledensity in India is 22 per cent in average but rural teledensity is around eight per cent only,” he said adding that the major challange at present in Indian and in the whole SAARC region is to increase ruralteledensity.

“However, in last couple of years the ruralteledensity in India has gone substentially high,” said Goyal, an Engineering Graduate from IIT Roorkee, who has been in Indian Teleco-mmunication Service in various capacities for last 35 years. He has also worked as director (Planning & New Services) and was responsible for planning and execution of strategy for expansion of BSNL’s network. He has also a vast experience in telecom sector like planning, installation, operation and maintenance of wirelines and wireless services, data services, computerisation of various activities in telecom network and provision of value added services.

“Despits the rollout obligation for the private operators, they are not extending their network to the rural areas,” he said, “leaving only the government operator to serve the needy rural masses.”

“If the government gives some subsidies for the private players to go to the rural areas,” Goyal, who has delivered a number of talks on various topics relating to telecom in various forums like GSM Association, Institute of Engineers, Institute of Electrical and Telecommuincations Engineers, CII, Door Darshan and A I R, said adding that in India the government has started giving subsidy for the private operators to rollout mobile operations in the rural areas. “Sometime, private operators instead of extending their network to the rural areas, get policy modified.” BSNL is in the process of commissioning of a world class, multi-gigabit, multi-protocol, convergent IP infrastructure through National Internet Backbone-II (NIB-II), that will provide convergent services through the same backbone and broadband access network. And its CMD Goyal is very much excited about its new programmes.

“The Broadband service

will be available on DSL technology — on the same copper cable that is used for connecting telephone — on a countrywide basis spanning 198 cities,” he said adding that in terms of infrastructure for broadband services NIB-II would put India at par with more advanced nations.

The services that would be supported includes always-on broadband access to the Internet for residential and business customers, Content based services, Video multicasting, Video-on-demand and Interactive gaming, Audio and Video conferencing, IP Telephony, Distance learning, Messaging — plain and feature rich, Multi-site MPLS VPNs with Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees.

BSNL is gearing up to provide high speed Internet connectivity (upto 8 Mbps), Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to the broadband customers, dial VPN service to MPLS VPN customers, multicast video services and video-on-demand through the Broadband Remote Access Server (BRAS), a means to bill for the services by either time-based or volume-based billing. It is also providing the customer with the option to select the services through web server, to provide both pre-paid and post paid broadband services.

BSNL formed in 2000 — the world’s seventh largest telecommunications company providing comprehensive range of telecom services like Wireline, CDMA mobile, GSM Mobile, Internet, Broadband, Carrier service, MPLS-VPN, VSAT, VoIP services is one of the largest public sector unit in India.