TRAI & FCC sign LoI on accelerating broadband deployment & aligning spectrum policy

TRAI & FCC sign LoI on accelerating broadband deployment & aligning spectrum policy

MUMBAI: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC, U.S.) has taken an important step to strengthen its relationship with one of its foreign regulatory counterparts, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

During a meeting on the sidelines of the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, FCC chairman Pai and TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for cooperation between the two agencies. The non-binding agreement sets out a framework for the mutually beneficial exchange of ideas through activities such as best practices sharing, bilateral workshops, and digital video conferences.

To guide these efforts, the FCC and TRAI have determined topics of shared interest, including accelerating broadband deployment and aligning spectrum policy to meet increasing mobile broadband demand.

FCC chairman Pai said, “I look forward to working with Chairman Sharma and his staff as both of our agencies strive to promote innovation, investment, and growth in communications technologies in order to bring digital opportunity to all of our people.”

Given the broader bilateral partnership between the United States and India, the FCC has long engaged with Indian counterparts on issues of telecommunication regulatory policy. The new agreement reinforces the ongoing positive working relationship between the FCC and TRAI and identifies opportunities for further collaboration in an increasingly interconnected world.

Earlier, in a report from the MIB (India), the government admitted that digital cable TV networks were vital infrastructure for penetration of broadband through which e-government services could be deployed.

According to the latest telecom subscription up to 31 December 2016 released by TRAI, Indian consumers quickly got over the demonetisation hiccup – at least as far as subscribing to mobile broadband, and dongles are concerned. Growth at 8.89 per cent has come back in the December month with the total number of mobile broadband subscribers rising to 217.36 million from 199.61 million subs earlier.

This increase has come about primarily due to Reliance Jio’s relentless drive to build a user base: it had 72.16 million mobile broadband users, whereas Bharti Airtel (43.56 million), Vodafone (35.02 million), Idea Cellular (27.04 million), and BSNL (20.36 million) followed. The top five Indian service providers constituted 83.93 percent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of Dec-16.

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