Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman R S Sharma said on Wednesday that India needs a robust fibre infrastructure to unleash the full potential of 5G and new-age technologies like artificial intelligence, big data and Internet of Things (IoT). He also advocated a public-private partnership (PPP) model to create a shared infrastructure to minimise the cost and maximise the benefits.
While speaking at an interactive session organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharma said that fibre infrastructure is the robust and reliable solution for the country’s growing data requirements. “For fibre to happen, a public-private partnership (PPP) where infrastructure providers to have a skin in the game, is needed,” Sharma said.
There has been an exponential growth in data consumption in the country, even far ahead of markets such as the US and China. However, the bulk of India’s total data requirement is met through wireless connectivity.
Data consumption in the country is also over twice the average consumption of the US. However, about 93% of the data in India is coming through wireless, while just 7% is through fixed line, Sharma said, adding that almost 46% of data globally is transported via fixed line and nearly 54% through wireless networks. The ratio in the case of the US is at 60% for fixed line and 40% for wireless.
“This is the deficit which we have. And obviously, you cannot create a great scenario of using all the newer breeds of technology unless you have a robust infrastructure on the ground…The need for such infrastructure is heightened now that we are talking of next-generation 5G and stack of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data,” Sharma added.
However, the new technologies are not likely to work till infrastructure is in the place and that is the biggest obstacle that the government has right now, he added.
In August, the Bloomberg reported citing Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan that the government is looking to launch 5G telecom services by 2022. India is little behind while launching the latest technology as the neighbouring country such as South Korea, Japan and China are expected to offer 5G services within the next two years.
The 5G technology has the advantage of low power consumption, higher download speed and capacity that can enable drones, remotely assisted surgeries and traffic control.