Bending over the building last-mile connectivity and smoothening right of way policies, reviewing spectrum assignment, and complementing fiber rollout with new technologies such as satellite broadband, Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC), and millimeter Wave (mmWave) technologies will improve the rural digital inclusion.
According to the latest report by ICRIER, while the Centre is still working to bring each village in the remotest part of the country into the digital fold, the main focus of the government should be a policy in this regard.
The report, released Tuesday, said that in addition to increasing fixed-line networks, there is a need to adopt new technologies to improve network infrastructure. This includes satellite connectivity via Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and FSOC.
LEO satellites are relatively less expensive and do not require high signal strength while FSOC is a line-of-sight technology that is useful in providing connectivity in challenging areas where deploying traditional microwave and fiber networks is a tricky affair. mmWave technologies via E and V bands are another way to improve digital penetration.
E and V bands can become an alternative to tower fiberisation
E and V bands can become an alternative to tower fiberisation, where mmWave networks can help bridge the fiber gap and provide high-speed connectivity, albeit in a short-range. TRAI has suggested the use of the 24.25 GHz to 28.5 GHz spectrum for mmWave 5G deployment.
Improving RoW policies is equally crucial to a smooth expansion of rural digital infrastructure, the report said. Private players have recommended making the Bharat Net program a vital public purpose status to facilitate quicker RoW approvals. Best practices like the Dig Once policy can further help in lowering costs and increasing reliability.
The report also highlighted the role the private sector can play in catalysing rural digital inclusion.