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Rediff.com  » Business » WiMax to drive India's broadband growth: Intel

WiMax to drive India's broadband growth: Intel

April 19, 2010 12:30 IST

WimaxWireless technologies like WiMax will lead the Indian broadband growth story, helping achieve the goal of having 100 million broadband users by 2014, world's largest chip-maker Intel said in Taipei on Sunday.

The government has set a target of achieving 100 million broadband subscribers by 2014 as against 8.59 million users by the end of February 2010.

"India has over 8.5 million broadband customers as ofnow and the copper line infrastructure is limited.

Therefore, going wireless is the only option for India and the growth will comefrom wireless technologies like WiMax," Intel managing director (WiMax programme office -- APAC and META business development) Lil Mohan told PTI, adding over the nextthree-four years, majority of broadband connections would beon the wireless platform.

WiMax (worldwide interoperability for microwave access) is designed to provide high-speed access to the Internet with much faster data downloads.

Mohan expects the bidding process for WiMax to be overby May and that players would commence operations by year-end.

"The next few years are big for WiMax and one would see huge growth in numbers. High-speed data access is expected to bridge the urban-rural digital divide and help address concerns of delivering essential services like education, finance and healthcare," he said.

Asked about end-consumer pricing, he said, "Pricing is going to be important as it has been for the telecom industry. It will provide people access to high-speed broadband, whichwill further bring in growth for the economy."

A study by McKinsey projects that a country's gross domestic product expands by 0.6 per cent for every 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration.

The auction of spectrum for mobile broadband is slated later this month in the country and the government has received applications from 11 companies, including BhartiAirtel, Idea Cellular and Aircel.

This is expected to make the bidding process highly competitive.    

The government has kept the reserve price at Rs 1,750 crore (Rs 17.5 billion) for pan-India spectrum licence.

Two blocks of 2.3 MHzspectrum in each circle will be put up for auction. Successful bidders are also expected to immediately launch services, providing the much needed thrust to increase broadband penetration.

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