Reduced data cost could enable affordable access: Economic Survey

Internet and broadband penetration across both urban and rural areas progressed rapidly, and the reduced cost of data could enable the affordable access at a fast pace, the Pre-Budget Economic Survey said on Friday.

Acknowledging the key role played by the telecom sector in implementation of JAM-trinity (Jandhan Aadhaar Mobile) based social sector schemes and other pro-development initiatives of the government, the Economic Survey said efforts are being made to address the digital divide by extending inclusive internet access to every Indian citizen.

"Internet and broadband penetrated both in urban and rural areas at a rapid pace," it said.

The government has laid a strong emphasis on 'broadband for all' as a part of its Digital India campaign, the Survey noted.

The telecom sector has also been recognised the world over as a powerful tool for development and poverty reduction, it observed.

The Economic Survey took note of the "exponential" growth in wireless data usage, saying the average monthly wireless data consumption per subscriber had risen to 12.2 GB in June 2020 from 9.1 GB in March 2019.

"The reduced cost of data could enable affordable internet access at a rapid pace. As of June 2020, the cost of wireless data stood at Rs 10.55 per GB," it said.

The government has undertaken a slew of initiatives including BharatNet to realise the goals of Digital India programme.

"Under the project, network infrastructure is being established for broadband highways, accessible on a non-discriminatory basis to provide affordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural areas, in partnership with states and the private sector," it said.

As on January 15, 2021 about 4.87 lakh kms of optical fiber cable has been laid to cover 1.63 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) and nearly 1.51 lakh GPs have become service-ready, it added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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