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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Communications
27-April-2012 16:57 IST
Rural Connectivity
At present the rural tele density in the country is approximately 38 whereas urban tele density is approximately 168. A recent World Bank study of 120 countries, published in November, 2009 shows that for every 10 percentage point increase in the penetration of mobile phones, there is an increase in economic growth of 0.8 percentage points in developing countries.

Under the draft revised National Telecom Policy 2012, it is proposed to increase rural tele density from current level of around 38 to 70 by 2017, and to 100 by 2020. The main reasons for lower tele-density in rural areas are low per capita income, lack of business viability, poor availability of infrastructure especially power etc.

Giving details in Rajya Sabha today, the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sh Milind Deora said as per the Cellular Mobile Telephone Servcie (CMTS) / Unified Access Service (UAS) license rollout obligations, the licensee would in its service area ensure that:

(i) At least 10% of the District Headquarters (DHQs) will be covered in the first year and 50% of the District Headquarters within three years from the date of allocation of the start up spectrum.

(ii) The licensee shall also be permitted to cover any other town in a District in lieu of the District Headquarters.

(iii) The choice of District Headquarters/towns to be covered and further expansion beyond 50% District Headquarters/towns would lie with the Licensee, depending on their business decision.

(iv) There is no requirement of mandatory coverage of rural areas.

Sh Deora said, viability gap funding is given to the telecom service providers through Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) for implementing various USOF schemes for providing access to telecom services to people in the rural and remote areas at affordable and reasonable prices.

BK/AT/PM