Practices & Prepositions

Telecommunications is one of the prime support services needed for rapid growth and modernization of various sectors of the economy. It has become especially important in recent years because of enormous growth of Information Technology (IT) and its significant impact on the rest of the economy. India is perceived to have a special comparative advantage in IT and in IT-enabled services. However, sustaining this advantage depends critically on high quality telecommunication infrastructure. Keeping this in view, the focus of Tenth Plan has to be on the provision of world class telecommunication facilities at reasonable rates. Provision of telecom services in rural areas would be another thrust area to attain the goal of accelerated economic development and social change. Although the telecom network has grown rapidly in recent years, its growth needs to be accelerated further in the Tenth Plan. It is equally important to speed up structural changes in this sector in line with trends in other countries to ensure that telecommunication services are not only made available on the scale needed to sustain rapid growth in the economy as a whole but also that their cost are in tune with the expectations of a modernising economy.

India's 21.59 million-line telephone network is the largest in Asia, 3rd largest among emerging economies (after China and Republic of Korea) and the 12th largest in the world. India's telecom network comprises of 27,753 telephone exchanges, with a total equipped capacity of 272.17 Lakh lines and 226.3 Lakh working telephones. The Long Distance Transmission Network has nearly 1,70,000 route kilometers of terrestrial Microwave Radio Relay & Co-axial cables and about 171,000 route kilometers of Optical Fiber Cables. Fully automatic International Subscriber Dialing (ISD) service is available to almost all the countries. The total number of stations connected to National Subscriber Dialing (NSD) is over 18,000 and this is increasing fast. Yet the present tele-density is very low at about 2.2 per hundred persons, offering a vast scope for growth. In the field of International communications, tremendous progress was made by the use of Satellite Communication and submarine links.It is therefore not surprising that India has one of the fastest growing telecommunication systems in the world with system size (total connections) growing at an average of more than 20 percent over the last 4 years.

The voice and non-voice telecom services include data transmission, facsimile, mobile radio, radio paging, V-SAT and leased line services to cater to variety of needs, both residential and business. A dedicated Packet Switched Public Data Network (I-NET) with international access for computer communication services is also available. ISDN service has already been introduced in the major cities. Other services like Intelligent Network (IN), Frame Relay (FR) and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) for wide band multimedia applications will be introduced in the near future.