Unlike in the brick-and-mortar world, speed thrills in the realm of ICT, yet does not kill. Moreover, as a result of the mobile telecom revolution, high processor speeds have come in the hands of end-users in an affordable manner.

There doesn’t seem to be an upper limit in sight. Just about a year ago, 1GHz processor-based smart phones were not a commonality. Today, we are already looking at dual and quad core based handheld devices becoming a reality.

There is a gap, rather a lag, though, on the network side. Even though 3G networks have been rolled out and continue to be expanded and bolstered, that has not been enough to realize the full potential of the devices and the quality of user experience that those devices can offer. Indeed, service providers, on their part also have challenges, the most important of which is the lack of sufficient active 3G users.

Lack of useful applications, in part, is a deterrent for a number of users to actively use wireless broadband, be it on a 3G network or the future BWA networks.

In this context the government can have a vital role to play for the growth of the industry as well as the benefit of users, who incidentally, are also potential users of various e-governance services as citizens.

The need of the hour is to have a pan-India broadband plan that neatly integrates with and leverages the infrastructure laid by various services providers. That would help the government accelerate usage of various government-to-citizen services. Regulation has a critical role to play, as a facilitator of the ubiquitous growth of wireless broadband that can be used for consumer as well as citizen applications.

From a longer term perspective as well, it would be useful and important for the government to involve industry to help build a more holistic and effective pan-India broadband network.

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