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Minimum broadband speed set to jump 4 times

Tired of poor broadband speed and painfully slow downloads? That's about to change soon, with the Centre looking to mandate a four-fold increase in the minimum broadband speed -- from 512 kbps (kilobits per second) to 2 mbps (megabits per second).
"I propose to take up the matter with the communications ministry," IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told TOI. "We will consider laying down a policy for increasing the minimum broadband speed from the current levels."

The thriving start-up ecosystem across India and delivery of a variety of consumer services through mobile phone apps, including online retail, taxis and social media, are among the reasons that have led to the push for upgrading the minimum internet speed on wire and wireless networks. The last time minimum internet speed was revised was in August 2014 when it was doubled rom 256 kbps to 512 kbps.

Experts and industry analysts say that the present peed is "abysmally slow" and is inadequate to match up with the fast-developing app eco-system that is fuell ng the growth of internet adoption across the country.

Prasad said that he expected telecom operators across the country to "appreciate" the move, which will now be taken up with the various stakeholders.

Telecom operators in the country are moving to 4G services that promise data peeds in excess of 10 mpbs.The migration to 4G is happening at a time when prices of smartphones handsets are at their lowest levels, with a 4G device being available for Rs 3,000. The government also feels that there is a need to upgrade the speed on fixedline broadband connections that are reaching homes, especially when it has initiated a highly-ambitious broadband outreach programme to connect as many as 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through optic fibre cable network called `BharatNet'.

According to a report by global content network Akamai, South Korea has the fastest average connection speed at 29 mbps and is followed by Norway at 21.3 mbps and Sweden at 20.6 mbps (global average is 6.3 mbps).

According to a report by Nasscom and Akamai, India had around 330 million fixed and mobile internet subscriptions as of December 2015. This is expected to witness a growth of approximately 20% over the next five years, taking the total subscriptions to around 730 million by 2020.