The telecom department plans to release ranking of states this year based on their readiness to build digital infrastructure and help them attract investments.

“This (Broadband readiness) index will help states in creating digital and high quality communication infrastructure, attract investments for creating next generation communication infrastructure, create institutional mechanism between Centre, state, local bodies and other stakeholders,” Minister of state for telecom Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre told reporters.

He was speaking at an event, where the Department of Telecom (DoT) signed memorandum of understanding with Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) to develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) for states and Union Territories (UT).

The first estimate will be made in 2019 and subsequently every year until 2022.

“This is expected to give a big fillip because for the first time we are assessing what is the status of digital infrastructure and what is their readiness to roll out digital infrastructure in states.

“Its a very major step. We are looking at nine important parameters and none of these have been earlier assessed in a scientific manner. We never had a state-wise break up,” telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.

The broadband readiness index (BRI) consists of two parts. Part one will focus on infrastructure development based on the measurement of nine parameters including availability of state policy on right of way and towers, adoption of national building code, percentage of mobile towers connected with fibre etc.

“Fibre is fundamental for extending broadband services and to make 5G a success story for India. Today, there are only about 20-25 per cent of mobile towers that are fiberised while 75-80 per cent of mobile towers are fiberised in countries like USA and Japan etc,” mobile infrastructure industry body Taipa Director General T R Dua said.

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The second part of the index will cover demand side parameters, which will be captured through primary surveys.

ICRIER Director and Chief Executive Rajat Kathuria said the broadband index will make states competitive as well as enhance cooperation.

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