Killing Internet in India

This post/article tries to illustrate how DOT (Department of Telecom) and other vested interests are killing Internet access in India

There are couple of assumptions which I should stress in the beginning :-

a. BSNL is and would be the predominant provider atleast in the near future . (opinion based on TRAI reports released every month)

b. DOT as the REAL policy maker for time to come.

There is lot to talk about so without further ado let’s jump right in.

The first nail in the coffin was with the IT ACT 2008 Amendment which was pushed in the Parliament without any discussion. I elaborated on it some months back in another blog post. What I failed to mention at that point in time was how women and girls are being harassed by cops who venture into cyber-cafes.

What had been happening (specifically in metros and bigger cyber-cafes in towns) that people increasingly have to give their details (cell numbers) and some identity-proof under the guise of increased security atmosphere. Then some cops would call up or go to the girls and women’s residences and ask them lewd questions. The idea being simply that the girls/women are using Internet for prostitution or something to that effect.

The other has been the sheer apathy by which our bureaucrats move. There are at least 4 movements in the space of mobile broadband worldwide. They are LTE , WiMax , 3G and 4G .

Now as far as broadband itself goes, its at a pathetic 4.7% penetration according to CIOL .

Time and time again TRAI has tried to make things right but who listens. As of today most of the ISP’s including BSNL defines broadband as 256 Kbps.

Now let’s look at the existing state, one can use Internet using copper (Wireline) broadband, Wi-Fi (paid or free at hotspots) and select areas under EVDO .

Apart from BSNL, the only competitor on the landscape is Airtel but this too is not good enough as there are hidden clauses and caps on them.

3G the next big thing is not going to arrive anytime soon .

WiMax, the underdog of the story is being shot dead even before it has started to crawl .

Another thing is that most of these solutions when they come out in the market, the majority of those systems would be locked-in similar to Sim locking done in cell-phones abroad.

Till date, from what I know there isn’t a single independant device which can work with BSNL and Airtel for broadband. I would be happy to be proved wrong 🙂

I know of some Netgear and some D-Link and Linksys routers and modems which do work with BSNL, do not know if they work with Airtel as well.

[OT] Even with the D-Link 502-T which I have (and have to come love it as it has given me service for over 7 years touchwood) many a times it responds to only IE when the link goes down so can’t use it exclusively with FOSS distributions. [/OT]

There is of course, no talk about community networking as shown in UK or/and being tried in Himachal Pradesh .

The end result being we are not listed anywhere in the recent broadband ratings but as before, who cares 😦

Lastly, of course, TRAI who has been given the mandate for doing policy research can ONLY advise the government, what policy should be formulated is still in the hands of DOT .

Can’t say nothing 😦

Update 06/10 :- Somebody named pitamm corrected me and said that giving the appropriate VPI/VCI settings one can use it between BSNL and Airtel (the two dominant ADSL broadband providers.)

These are the appropriate settings

BSNL: 0/35
MTNL: 0/32
Bharti (airtel): 1/32 (internet) 1/35 (IPTV)

Another thing was today’s coverage of BSNL in DNA

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