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BSNL focuses on rural areas for WiMax
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At the Korea-India Communications Convergence Forum and Exhibition held in New Delhi on Friday, industry representatives discussed the importance of mobile WiMax in today's times. WiMax is the next generation wireless technology that enables high-speed mobile internet access across several devices including notebook PCs, handsets, smartphones and consumer electronics.

The session on 'New Paradigm in Mobile WiMax' was addressed by Hung Song, vice-president, global marketing group, Samsung Electronics, and Pradeep Nagpal, general manager, BSNL national network planning, CDMA and WiMax.

Nagpal spoke on BSNL's achievements in the field of WiMax. He said, "We want to provide broadband services in rural areas using WiMax technology. We currently have 4.6 million broadband subscribers, which is 55.5 per cent of the market. We believe that WiMax is going to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas."

He said that the key drivers for BSNL's deployment of WiMax are - intense competition faced by the telecom industry with falling average revenue per user (ARPU); growth and need for data services, which will form a new revenue stream for service providers and the government's encouragement.

Nagpal also highlighted the work being done by BSNL in this field. He said the company, along with Huawei, a Chinese telco, is implementing a project to set up 700 base stations in Punjab, which is expected to be complete by March this year.

Song said that India ranks 54 in the Networked Readiness Index of Asia (2008-2009), accoeding to a study by the World Economic Forum and that the country currently has very low broadband penetration. He threw light on a World Bank report which said that a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration boosts a country's economic growth by 1.3 per cent. He linked the importance of broadband to a country's development and remarked that if the broadband penetration in emerging markets was at par with Western Europe's, the GDP in these markets would increase by $300-420 billion, apart from more than 10-14 million new jobs being generated.

Song also spoke on Korea's adoption of WiMax technology, highlighting its use in the country's subway system, Konkuk University, ROK Air Force bases, and in ambulances and hospitals.

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