Interaction with Secretary (Telecom) & Release of CII - KPMG Broadband Report
  • A report on the role of broadband for inclusive growth in India, titled “Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fibre Network” by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and KPMG in India was released by Mr MF Farooqui, Secretary, Telecom at the CII Interactive Session and the CII’s National Committee Meeting on Telecom & Broadband. The report explores how, using the national fibre infrastructure, commercially feasible business models for relevant e-services in areas such as education, healthcare, banking and agriculture can be built on the foundation of a Public-Private-Panchayat ecosystem.  This report is expected to serve as a useful reference for the Government and the industry as they jointly deliberate on how best the national fibre network asset can be leveraged.
  • Mr MF Farooqui, Secretary, Telecom referred to the celebrated growth of the India telecom sector and emphasized that the next level of growth will come from data. He said that with the NOFN, ‘the Government has put in place a superior quality highway” that will be available at the village level.  He highlighted the high transaction cost that the rural population has to bear for the most basic services and said that the NOFN can be used to eliminate these high costs.  He added that offering various relevant services to the rural population will need disruptive thinking and urged the industry to seize the opportunity and come forth with innovative ideas – ideas that can generate sustainable returns to all stakeholders and lead to inclusive growth.

    During the occasion, Mr MF Farooqui, Secretary, Telecom formally announced that the next CII National Telecom Summit 2013 will be held on 2nd August 2013 in New Delhi that is being organised in partnership with Department of Telecommunication. The Summit brochure was also released and industry participation was invited.
  • Mr N Ravi Shanker, IAS, Additional Secretary & USOF, Department of Telecom & CMD, BBNL, said that after the cable TV revolution and the mobile revolution, 2012 onwards marks the era of broadband revolution. He said that “technology has a democratizing element and the NOFN can be India’s engine to end poverty”. He referred to the various business models presented in the CII-KPMG report as being “spot-on” and emphasized on the significant Public-Private-Panchayat partnership potential that NOFN offers. He urged the industry to reevaluate the commercial potential underpinning this Public-Private-Panchayat ecosystem. He summarized by saying that “...players now need to see how the pie can be shared. As the pie grows bigger, there will be place for everyone.” 
  • Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in his message conveyed that “the potential of connecting the relatively under-connected rural areas [with high-speed broadband] is especially high. The Government of India has taken a commendable step by commissioning the National Fibre Optic Network that will connect 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats with a speed of 100 Mbps and almost all states have agreed to provided their support through Triparte agreement between Centre-State-NOFN”. It further said that “such high-speed Internet access will not only establish connect to the bottom of the pyramid, but will also generate skills and employment, thereby delivering empowerment to the rural population”. It highlighted that “this report is expected to serve as a useful reference for the Government and the industry as they jointly deliberate on how best the national fibre network asset can be leveraged”.
  • Mr. Kiran Karnik, Chairman, CII National Committee on Telecom & Broadband (2013-14) highlighted that “this report explores some possible business models in the Public-Private partnership mode and presents recommendations arising from the extensive research and interactions with the industry and Government representatives”. He mentioned that the report is expected to “stimulate not only the discussion and debate, but concrete action to create the facilitative environment which will enable broadband to play a major role in the agenda for growth and inclusion”.
  • Mr. Harish Krishnan, Chairman, CII Sub-Group on Broadband said that “there is enough evidence on the ground that an average Indian villager is ready to consume quality services delivered through ICT, and these services can be delivered more efficiently and economically”.  He added that the” key to make the pilots take off to scale is in the creation of viable business models and ensuring a technology architecture that is future proof.  The objective of the report is to lay down some facts, provide some initial framework for Public Private Partnership (PPP) but most importantly, lay the foundation for a cohesive view and action plan of all stake holders that will make broadband and ICT intervention impactful, inclusive, immersive and sustainable in India.”
  • Mr. Jaideep Ghosh, Partner, KPMG India highlighted the significant potential of providing broadband-enabled services across priority sectors such as education, healthcare, banking and agriculture. He said that “connectivity facilitates inclusiveness. But services will need to be relevant and affordable to the rural masses, and commercially viable for the service providers. This calls for robust Public-Private partnerships. The task now is to implement business models that create win-win value for all stakeholders”.


Key Highlights: CII-KPMG report on ‘Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fibre Network’


  • With its promise of delivering speed up to 100 Mbps, the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) has significant potential to deliver e-services to India’s six lakh plus villages in the areas of education, healthcare, banking and agriculture. These services can speed up the Government’s inclusive growth agenda while generating rural employment, skill-building and growth. 
  • Private players may have been hesitant in certain instances to venture out into the remote areas as the business case of being able to provide scalable, profit-driven services appears uncertain. However, several e-service pilots have been trailed successfully on a limited scale and with a non-profit motive, indicating that there is demand for such services
  • To scale up these e-services, a Public-Private-Panchayat ecosystem – comprising the Central and State Governments the providers of enabling products and services (both public and private), and local governing bodies (Gram Panchayats) – needs to come together and build commercially sustainable business models that provide affordable services to the end-users and also generate adequate commercial and social returns
  • In Healthcare, telemedicine services involving remote consultations using two-way video conferencing can address the dual challenges of low doctor-to-patient ratio and the lack of access to specialist advice in rural healthcare delivery. Such telemedicine units can be set up directly by private healthcare service providers or offered through the Common Service Centres (CSCs)s, with the Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE) leading the service.
  • In Education, NOFN can enable remote learning environments in Government-run rural schools, and thus address the challenge of high pupil to teacher ratio and declining learning quality. Such ICT-enabled environments can be operated by private education service providers. High-speed broadband can also enable online vocational training imparted at the CSCs for a nominal fee
  • Private business correspondents can use connected point-of-transaction terminals to conduct nearer-home cash-in-cash-out banking transactions for the rural population. Such models already exist, but NOFN can further boost these models by resolving connectivity issues. There could also be a model where private sector banks integrate their IT systems with that of the Post Offices to offer a bouquet of banking-related services to rural customers
  • In Agriculture, broadband can address the high information asymmetry existing among farmers by providing them with timely information and advice on relevant topics. There could also be software tools provided by technology companies for farm management, soil analysis, seed analysis, etc. These services could be provided through kiosks run by rural entrepreneurs or through the CSCs at a nominal fee charged to the farmers.
  • While many of these business models could be self-sustaining, a few would require some money to be infused in the hands of the consumer to generate demand. The report proposes the possibility of channeling funds from existing Government programs such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the new National Health Mission (a new program created in FY14 combining the National Rural Health Mission and the National Urban Health Mission) to create this corpus.
  • For many of the priority sectors, the existing network of nearly 1 lakh CSCs can form a good starting point. Equipped with computers, basic peripherals, Internet connectivity, and a VLE owning the centre, these CSCs can act as multi-service delivery points for several e-services. High-speed broadband access is expected to broaden the range and improve the quality of e-services available at these CSCs.
  • Recognizing the potential of coupling the Government’s social imperatives with the private sector’s commercial interests, and appreciating the need to bring together multiple stakeholders from the government and the private sector to this effect, the report proposes a CII-Government Working Group with a well-defined set of objectives and responsibilities. With such a diverse, yet cohesive body at the helm of planning and execution, it will be possible to bring the multiple facets of expertise, decision-making and administrative guidance that will be essential to harness the NOFN into a medium of holistic inclusive growth.
Knowledge Resources
You will get access to following Knowledge Resources by subscribing to the Digital Library of this event.
Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fibre Network
Interactive Session with Mr MF Farooqui, Secretary, Department of Telecom
Mr MF Farooqui, Secretary, Department of Telecom addressing CII
Mr N Ravi Shanker, Additional Secretary and Administrator, USOF, DoT Addressing CII Members
Mr Kiran Karnik, Chairman, CII National Committee on Telecom & Broadband addressing CII
Mr Harish Krishnan, Chair, CII Sub-Committee on Broadband and Director, CISCO
Mr Jaideep Ghosh, Partner, KPMG India addressing CII Members
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