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  • Telecom fraternity needs to ensure Last Mile Connectivity, especially in Villages

    Published on May 17, 2021

    In the last few years, the telecom sector has proved its resilience and relevance and its sectoral achievements of the last decade are phenomenal. The telecom fraternity has a role to ensure that everyone ranging from urban to rural population comes under the telecom network, deliberated Mr. Hari Ranjan Rao (IAS), Joint Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India in a webinar organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry on World Telecommunication & Information Society Day 2021 with the theme ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation in Challenging Times

    Mr. Hari Ranjan Rao while appreciating the startup and entrepreneurship sector mentioned that these companies have significantly contributed to the economy of various sectors in our country. The industry needs to think of the innovative and new ways to bring people back to company roles, improving the lay-offs situation risen due to the pandemic. Process engineering is an area that the sector needs to work on.

    Throwing light on some of the challenges, Mr. Rao said that there is still a long way to go in terms of last mile connectivity especially in villages and access to broadband for everyone. Another challenge is affordability which is affecting the viability of the sector itself. Also the government services need to be digitized for the citizens via their mobile phones. Right of way for fibre network in the telecom infrastructure is still a bottleneck that needs to be resolved.

    Appreciating the National Digital Communications Policy, Mr. Rao said that the recommendations from the policy provide an excellent platform for the sector to work on and so does the National Broadband Mission. Mr. Rao opined that a lot of lateral thinking is required. Innovative ways like setting up of national fiber authority and innovative ways to improve the quality of service are needed. He emphasized that there are a lot of real-life constraints that exist in this sector, which are to be overcome and we all need to play a role in nation building in whatever capacity.

    Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P Kochhar, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India shared his views on the journey of the telecom sector in the last few years and especially during the pandemic.  Due to the pandemic, people have gone digital and are able to do business seamlessly. He elaborated on how this sector has worked phenomenally in these time, despite low profits He said that in the coming years we will see a lot of digitalization.

    He also said that subscribers, industry and the government need to work together to take this sector forward. He emphasized that 5G is all about connecting machines to machines and with the coming of Industry 4.0; we need to roll out a robust system with an adequate amount of bandwidth and compatibility. 

    Mr. Sanjeev Shriya, Founder, Smart Chip Private Limited while talking about the importance of ICT in connecting people and its journey in India, said that ICTs have put India at the forefront of digitalization. He mentioned that Aadhar Program has been an integral step towards India’s digitalization followed by other programs like the pan-India vaccination program, digital transactions, financial payments, issuing digital certificate during vaccination, also for tracking vaccine and oxygen supplies etc.

    The digital divide is more visible now during the pandemic and it has brought a societal change. Digitalization is being incorporated in every sector which helps in global collaboration and enhanced productivity. ICT technologies today are integral, important, it is almost impossible to function without them and are improving various sectors of the country.

    Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his presidential remarks spoke on how the pandemic has transformed peoples’ approach towards work, mobility, and flexible working models. . This is an opportune time for organizations to reflect on the digital talent base and leverage the downtime to build a pervasive digital skill foundation.

    In India’s new and emerging digital ecosystems of the future, there is a need for businesses to find new ways to engage with customers. All Indian stakeholders will need to gear up to capture the opportunities and manage the challenges of being a connected nation. A large part of the economic value created is coming from digital innovation, ecosystem propositions, and new technologies, said Mr. Aggarwal. 

    Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal, Mentor-Telecom Committee, PHD Chamber while deliberating about the importance of World Telecommunication Day, discussed the importance of telecommunication in connecting the world in these times of the pandemic. He mentioned that the digital economy will become the reason for India’s growth in the future times and digital business transformation is the need of the hour for amplifying the working process. 

    Mr. Rajiv Gupta, Chairman-Telecom Committee, PHD Chamber while sharing about the current scenario of India and change in the telecommunication sector amidst the pandemic, emphasized that it has highlighted the urgency of accelerating digital transformation. This crisis has highlighted the critical role of ICTs for the continued functioning of societies and there is a need to mitigate the digital divide between the urban and rural populations. 

    Mr. Alok Mukherjee, Co Chairman-Telecom Committee, PHD Chamber while giving the concluding remarks, thanking the panelists for their views on the topic, mentioned that with the majority of revenue growth tied to digital offerings and operations over the next three years, IT leaders should continue investing in key enablers, like integrated cloud, agile, automation, AI, blockchain, advanced data and analytics. He emphasized that companies that continue to invest in their digital strategy while balancing short-term efforts with long-term measures will likely emerge from this pandemic more competitively.

    Mr. Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary-General, PHD Chamber interacted with the delegates and industry experts and thanked them for their views and insights about World Telecom Day. The session was moderated by Dr. Yogesh Srivastav, Assistant Secretary-General, PHD Chamber and supported by Paramount Communications Limited and Idemia Syscom India Private Limited. It was successfully attended by many senior members of PHD, Embassy officials and stalwarts from the telecom industry.

    PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s webinars are supported by the Annual Sponsors namely DLF India; Multani Pharmaceuticals Ltd; JK Tyre & industries ltd; Marble City; Paramount Cables ltd; SMC Investments and Advisors Limited; Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic; DCM Shriram Industries Ltd; Radico Khaitan ltd and Timberworkz.