Govt explores data transmission using electricity wires

Chennai: To increase connectivity throughout the nation and to increase data transmission speeds, the government is said to be exploring new technology for transmitting internet data using power cables that are used for electricity transmission.

According to a senior official, although the government is looking into alternatives it is not loking at high-speed internet. Its aim at the moment is to provide basic internet connectivity to areas where Internet penetration is low.

“We can use different alternatives like the vast network of power cable lines to send data, although not high-speed internet, but data at nominal speeds to at least provide a basic level of internet connectivity in those areas where broadband or mobile/wireless Internet penetration is still very low. That’s the kind of convergence we have already begun working on,” ERNET India director general, Neena Pahuja, said while speaking at Convergence India event.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Chairman, R S Sharma, said there are huge opportunity in building data networks and need to look at alternate way of connecting people.

“Fibre is just one way and not the only way of establishing connectivity. When we talk about taking internet and broadband to the remoter regions of the country, we need to explore other alternatives too. Cable TV, for instance, can be one of the most efficient ways of taking internet to the farther corners of India, and we can learn a lot of from some of the most successful internet and television companies of the world,” he said.

Sharma said that in the US cable TV companies command high share in data services. “We need to be open to other channels, be it satellites, cable, or wireless, and work towards developing newer, holistic technologies that overcome existing challenges to building a fully connected nation,” he said.

The TRAI Chairman said any technology that is developed for India should be scalable, inter-operable and frugal but with frugality it should not compromise on robustness.

He also said India is price sensitive market but the volume of business available in India provides opportunity for companies to earn revenue due to scale that it can provide.

A recent study undertaken by OpenSignal showed that smartphone users in 20 Indian cities experienced the fastest download speeds of 16.8 Mbps at 4am compared to the slowest speed of 3.7 Mbps at 10pm. The daily average is 6.5 Mbps, the study said.

The report stated that the wide range between a city’s fastest hourly speed and the average speed that smartphone users experience shows the challenge India’s operators face to support a really big number of smartphone users consuming mobile data services.

Not a rank-holder
US data speed tester Ookla has ranked India 109th, nearly at the bottom in its list of 124 nations, on overall mobile internet speeds, with an average download speed of 9.12 Mbps, which is way below the 23.54 Mbps global average. Although 4G is still the talk of the town, buffering is still a reality in India, according to Ookla.


NT Bureau