Odisha’s tele-density—the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area—is far behind the national average, highlighting the state’s challenges in working up the economic ladder.
The state’s Economic Survey for 2018-19 says Odisha has a tele-density of 79.58 per cent rate compared to the national average of 91.09 per cent.
Wireless tele-density in the state’s urban areas is 160.8 per hundred persons but 61.6 in rural areas.
The state also has fewer internet subscriptions when compared with the national average. Odisha has only 28.22 internet subscribers for a population of 100, compared to the national average of 38.02.
The internet subscription per 100 people in rural areas stands at 16 where as it is 83.3 in case of urban areas. Total internet subscribers in the state stood at 12.18 million, including the 5.67 million users in rural areas.
“…there is significant urban-rural difference in the state both for tele-density and internet subscription. It is seen that while overall wireless tele density and internet subscription for Odisha is lower than national level, it is comparable when urban regions are related for both. This implies that in urban regions, the status of telecom infrastructure is adequate and at par with national average. Hence, push for increasing internet services needs to be focused on in rural regions in the state”, the Economic Survey report noted.
The centre’s Department of Telecommunication in 2016-2017 conducted a survey involving block-level officers that out of total 51,311 villages of the state, about 11,000 villages do not have mobile connectivity. Out of this, 10,000 villages come under LWE (left wing extremists) affected area.
“Special funding is required to set up more number of mobile towers in these uncovered areas for improving the tele-density in the state’’, the report stated.
For improving the tele-density in the state, the Odisha government has notified the Odisha Mobile Towers, Optical Fibre Cable and Related Telecom Infrastructure Policy, 2017 to assist the telecom service provider and infrastructure providers for obtaining RoW (right of way) permission in a given time frame.
“Telecom service providers and infrastructure providers are yet to come forward to install telecom infrastructure in Gajapati, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Malkangiri, Koraput and Rayagada villages of the state”, the report added.