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Modi govt pursuing bold strategies for universal Internet access by 2022: Ajit Pai

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

is pursuing bold strategies to achieve the ambitious goal of universal by 2022, a top American has said, highlighting the challenges in building networks in rural areas.

"I commend and the for their ambitious goals of universal by 2022 and fixed access to 50 per cent of households by 2022," said at the Ideas summit of Business Council here on Wednesday.

"To meet these targets, they're pursuing bold strategies such as installing two million public hotspots in rural areas and redesigning and expanding the Universal Service Obligation Fund, he said.

Pai said despite the good news, millions of Indians and Americans still live in rural areas where there is currently no case for the private sector alone to build networks.

"As is the case in parts of Assam, Uttarakhand, and Karnataka, we have communities in Alaska, Utah, and that don't have access," he said.

To connect these communities, provides federal subsidies to private carriers to leverage additional investment. The US has begun allocating some of this support by using a reverse auction, which harnesses market forces and a diverse array of technologies to maximise the impact and efficiency of this investment, he said.

Just this week, FCC authorised USD167 million in universal service subsidies to connect 60,000 unserved rural homes and businesses in some of the hardest-to-connect corners of the US. "Obviously, India's connectivity challenges are significantly different in nature and scale," Pai said.

Observing that 5G could be transformative, enabling things like and precision agriculture, automotive safety and gaming, industrial IoT and other breakthroughs that one can't even conceive today, Pai said one of their top priorities is to protect the security and integrity of the

That's why the FCC has proposed to prohibit the use of the broadband funding we administer to purchase equipment or services from any company that poses a national security threat to the integrity of or the communications supply chain, he said.

That's why the FCC denied the application of USA, a ultimately owned by the Chinese government, to provide international services in the United States, he said.

When making decisions that impact 5G security, in particular, one needs to remember that the implications are wide-ranging. 5G will affect militaries, industries, critical infrastructure, and much more. The procurement and deployment decisions made now will have a generational impact on the country's security, economy, and society.

When it comes to 5G, we cannot afford to make risky choices and just hope for the best. We must see clearly the threats to the security of our networks and act to address them. And the more that allies like the and India can work together and make security decisions based on shared principles, the safer that our will be, Pai said.

Pai said he is looking forward to working with Indian and American business communities in the days ahead to connect, to propel, and to secure the digital future of the and Indiatwo strong allies and two good friends.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 13 2019. 07:35 IST
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