5G can only happen if fiber connectivity increases severalfold in India &

India's 5G dream can become a reality once sufficient fiber connections are in place, as the country is experiencing significant delays on this front, said President of the Broadband India Forum (BIF) T.V. Ramachandran.

Fiber connections in the country have declined and have not increased over the years, he noted.

"When I came to the telecommunications sector in 1994, India had about 47 million connections, now it has only 20 million fixed-line connections.

"If you use a microwave, you can not use even newer technology … 5G can not happen if there are not enough fibers," Ramachandran said in an interview with IANS.

The quantum fiber underground in India is 1 / 15th in the United States and 1/10 in China, the President of BIF said, adding that compared to 80% of Chinese fiber towers, only 20 per cent of towers in India today are connected with fibers.

Ramachandran, the founding chairman of the Industrial Policy Forum, observed: "In other countries, broadband is broadband broadband in general, regardless of whether you call it a fixed or optical fiber that has unlimited capacity … base for broadband in most countries. "

It was of the opinion that although the scope of mobile broadband is growing, it must work with broadband fixed telephony services.

Explaining the need for fiber optic connectivity, Ramacandran reported that while mobile broadband is on the rise, "mobile traffic must eventually be transferred to the fixed line."

"The microwave does not have the ability to carry heavy data, so it's inevitable that you need a stable connection," he said.

The BIF president, however, was optimistic about the government's emphasis on the matter, as it intends to create a national fiber optic authority.

The Ministry of Communications in the National Digital Communications Policy in 2018, released on September 26, said it would set up a National Plant Authority to accelerate the development of fiber optics in the country.

Speaking of the lack of Wi-Fi hotspots, Ramachandran noted that the country currently has about 35,000. "For the size of India's population, we do not have eight million hotspots, or even a lakh right now," Ramachandran said.

The recent announcement by Manoj Sinha, Communications Minister at the IMC 2018, that telecom operators would bring one million Wi-Fi hotspots, was a "big start", Ramachandran notes.

He also said the decision of the Ministry of Telecommunications in October to taste 605MHz (megahertz) of the 5GHz band (gigahertz) would increase the availability of radio waves by 12 times the existing capacity.

The decision would help lift one of the most important barriers to creating hotspots – the lack of sufficient available Wi-Fi spectrum, Ramachandran said.

Despite the challenges faced by the industry, it is convinced that the 5G interconnection would be commercially available in the country – specifically in the regions, if not at the national level – in 2020.

Major tests will be required for about a year at 5G and "2019 is the year for testing," he said.

The government has set a timetable for 2020 to launch the 5G connection in the country.

"I would like to think that in 2019 it will be progressive … It must be in Delhi, in Mumbai, in the suburbs and in the rural areas. All this will have to be covered and we will need a lot of time for it. Phase I is projected in 2019, "Ramakandran explains.

Asked about a possible disruption to the fixed-line broadband market with Jio GigaFiber's upcoming arrival, Ramachandran, former Director-General of India's Mobile Operators Association (COAI), said it was "clear" that another turmoil would happen.

Describing the 2016 disorder as "painful," he said it would take a long renewal period, adding that it eventually led to a "viable" market.