Road map to expand phone reachROOPAK GOSWAMI
Guwahati, Oct. 24: The department of telecommunications is going all out to double the teledensity in the region by December 2012.
With the strategic location of the region characterised by extremely tough terrain with limited transportation and other infrastructure and to bring it into the national mainstream, officials say it would be essential to substantially improve the telecommunication facilities.
The plan, Future Plan with Monitorable Targets for Improvement of Telecommunication Infrastructure in Northeast, has been drawn up targeting December 2012.
The plan speaks of entire national highways network being covered by June and the state highways by December next year. Broadband connections are targeted to have a four-fold increase by December 2012. All district headquarters and block headquarters are targeted to be covered by December. All villages in the region will be provided with public telephones by June.
Figures released by the department of telecommunications reveal that the teledensity in Assam as on June 30 is 20.31. Teledensity indicates the number of telephone lines per 100 people. While the teledensity of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura is 44.18, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland have a teledensity of 6.27.
The region comprises three territorial telecom circles — Assam, NE-I (comprising Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura) and NE-II (comprising Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland).
The department of telecommunications is also providing subsidy support for setting up and managing infrastructure sites (towers) in the region for provision of mobile services in rural and remote areas, where there is no existing fixed wireless or mobile coverage. Around 85 towers have been commissioned in Assam as on June 30.
This is being done under the universal service obligation fund which is meant to serve rural and inaccessible areas and to provide vital telecom connectivity as these areas also generate lower revenue because of lower population density, low income and lack of commercial activity.
The infrastructure, so created, is being shared by service providers.
For induction of new technological developments in the telecom sector on a pilot project basis in rural and remote areas, a scheme has been launched wherein about five pilot projects shall be provided subsidy support.
Support is also being considered for renewable energy resources (solar, wind, diesel) with one site each in all states of the region. Further support is also being considered for mobile charging stations through TERI project of Lighting a Billion Lives. Hundred of such charging stations are being provided in Assam.