India should use PPP model to scale up telecom infrastructure
Voice and Data|January 2020
India should use PPP model to scale up telecom infrastructure
He specializes in greenfield telecom ventures and loves building businesses from zilch. The head of convergence business at Sterlite Power, NK Panda is also working towards creating a nationwide fibre optic network primarily on power utility infrastructure. In an interaction with Anusha Ashwin he talks about the strengths of the company, its efforts to make India digitally empowered, and fibre optic connection plans. Excerpts:
Anusha Ashwin

V&D: It is interesting to see how the convergence business of Sterlite Power has evolved. how has the company grown to offer new-age solutions?

NK Panda (NKP): Sterlite Power is a leading integrated power transmission developer and solutions provider globally, focused on addressing complex challenges in the sector by tackling the key constraints of time, space, and capital.

With Power Transmission projects of over ~12,500 circuit km and 22,719 MVA in India and Brazil, the company boasts of having an industry-leading portfolio of power conductors, EHV cables, OPGW and offers solutions for upgrading and strengthening existing networks.

The convergence business has been formed with a vision to unlock the transformative power of the digital communications networks in India, by building reliable and high-speed communication networks riding over utility lines. With India significantly behind the global standards for internet speeds and fibre kilometers per capita, we are competitively placed to tap into this opportunity and provide access to the internet and mobile phones to people around the country.

While India is witnessing exponential data consumption, it lacks reliable telecom infrastructure, which is restraining the growth of the digital communications sector. India’s ambitious initiatives like Digital India, Smart City mission and broadband for all can only be realized if the basics of having reliable and efficient telecom infrastructure can be put in place.

Sterlite Power’s convergence business, which operates at the confluence of the power and telecom sector, is working to solve this perennial infrastructure issue and aims to create a pan India communication infrastructure.

V&D: So what are you targeting to achieve at Sterlite Power and how will it help meet the requirements of today’s telecommunications industry in rural and urban India?

NKP: The convergence business arm of Sterlite Power aims to create a pan-India, efficient optical ground wire network to deliver high-speed data that runs over existing utility lines. This is in line with the government’s vision of “Connecting, Propelling and Securing India” as outlined in the National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018.

One of the convergence-led approaches is to have high quality, reliable, and robust fibre network is to leverage the existing utility network assets. Utilities like power, gas and water already have an existing omnipresent network that can be leveraged to overcome the communication infrastructure challenges. Utility assets can be used to build an alternate failsafe network to connect all state capitals, district headquarters, and even extend it to every household.

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January 2020