Government looks to hike minimum internet speed

Days of low internet speed on mobile and broadband networks could soon be over. The government has kick-started the process of giving a boost to the minimum mandated internet speed from existing 512 kbps to at least 2 mbps and more.

Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the government was mindful of slow internet speed experienced by internet users in many parts of the country. Internet speeds are nowhere close to the numbers promised by companies in 3G and 4G data packs and advertisements. And, the issue is critical as India prepares for rollout of 5G services as well as a host of other applications focused around internet-of-things (IoT).

The telecom secretary said India required faster speeds in the wake of gradual transformation of the country into a digital economy . These include initiatives such as smart cities, digital India programmes, efforts on digital payments, and 5G.

The issue of slower internet speed has been a painful experience for a majority of mobile customers, especially when download speeds for videos and other such services is nowhere near the satisfactory level. All this is happening at a time when telecom companies are rolling out faster 4G networks across the country, a move that has gained pace after the launch of services by Reliance Jio in September last year. Older telecom companies, however, have been averse to the idea of having a higher threshold when it comes to internet speed.

However, they are cold to criticism -levelled in many quarters -that investments in boosting mobile network infrastructure have been weak.

A recent global report based on over 63 million internet speed tests across the world ranked India at 119th position in a list of 189 countries where the tests were conducted. The report by Cable.co.uk said to download a 7.5 GB HD film, it will take only 18 minutes and 34 seconds in top-ranked Singapore and under 30 minutes in Sweden and Taiwan, but the same would take a little over 8 hours and 16 minutes in India.

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