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BSNL to offer broadband at speed up to 2 megabits per second

TELECOM 2006: The President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and the Minister for IT & Communications, Mr Dayanidhi Maran, at the inauguration of India Telecom 2006 in the Capital on Thursday. - Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , Dec. 14

Broadband connectivity of 256 kilobits per second speed is passť. State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd will now offer broadband services with speed of up to 2 megabits per second to all its existing subscribers who were till now getting 256 kbps connection. Subscribers will not be charged for migrating to the high-speed broadband access nor will they have to change their consumer premise equipment.

Announcing the move, the Communication and IT Minister, Mr Dayanidhi Maran, said, "We are christening the year 2007 as the Year of Broadband in India. To trigger this growth, BSNL has come out with an aggressive plan for providing five million broadband connections in 2007 itself and that too with minimum download speed of 1 Mbps. It is now for the private operators to match it or beat it."

Speaking at the inaugural session of India Telecom 2006, Mr Maran said fresh investment commitments of about $2 billion (about Rs 9,000 crore) from telecom equipment providers was expected in the next one year for setting up manufacturing units in the country. "The entry of Nokia into manufacturing followed by Flextronics, Motorola and a whole lot of others has laid the platform for positioning India as a global hub for telecom manufacturing," Mr Maran said.

Since May 2004, India has already witnessed investment commitments of over $17 billion in IT and telecom.

Privacy concerns

Inaugurating the three-day exhibition and seminar President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, stressed the need to assess and debate issues relating to invasion of privacy. "Ethics for utilisation of telecom tools and technologies also need to be evolved so that individual privacy is not intruded upon. Although some restrictions are in place for unsolicited telephone calls, there is a need for more effective control mechanism," Mr Kalam said this in his address.

`India Telecom 2006' is being organised by the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications and IT in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Telecom Equipment Manufactures' Association (TEMA).

Speaking further on the occasion, the President said that connectivity was the key to the transformation of billion people into members of knowledge society.

"Connectivity for the billion people is the connectivity of the planet; which meant connecting 6,00,000 villages and bringing 700 million people to the 300 million people living in urban," Dr Kalam said.

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