India will have 200 mn rural telecom connections by 2012: Raja

September 24th, 2008 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) The government Wednesday expressed concern over the divide between the urban and rural areas in terms of telecom connectivity, and said the country would have 200 million rural telecom connections by 2012.“We plan to have 200 million rural telecom connections by 2012 at a penetration rate of 25 percent and will utilise the USO (universal service obligation) fund for the achievement of this goal,” Communications and IT Minister A. Raja said here.

So far, around 88 million phones have been provided in the rural areas with a tele-density of around 11 percent, he added.

He said there was a huge potential for foreign investment in telecom equipment manufacturing, especially in the wake of the government’s target of achieving 600 million subscribers.

“Following the government’s measures to promote broadband in the country, the broadband subscribers grew from a meagre 0.18 million in March 2005 to more than four million, up to August 2008,” Raja said.

It is also envisaged that internet and broadband subscribers will increase to 40 million and 20 million respectively by 2010, he added.

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