India raises minimum broadband speed in the country by 400 percent, but is still behind Bangladesh

By India's definition of broadband, the minimum speed now has to be 2Mbps, instead of 512Kbps.

  • India has raised the broadband speed to 2Mbps from 512Kbps.
  • Bangladesh offers a minimum speed of up to 5Mbps.
  • The Broadband India Forum (BIF) said this is a big improvement.

In a gazette notification on February 1st, the Ministry of Communications revised the definition of broadband in the country, thereby increasing the speed of a broadband internet connection in the country. While the previous definition of broadband, from 2013, stated a data connection with a minimum download speed of 512Kbps, the new definition emphasises the speed to be a minimum of 2Mbps.

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While the 400 percent increment sounds great on paper, in reality, India is way behind global standards. For starters, Bangladesh offers a minimum speed of up to 5Mbps. 

The Broadband India Forum (BIF) applauded the government’s decision to increase the minimum broadband speed, but it emphasised that this is insufficient for a ‘mobile first’ country. India is a “mobile first” country, which means that almost all of the people who use broadband access it through their mobile phones.

BIF says this is a big improvement, but there is still a long way to go. The forum, though, said that a speed of 2Mbps will improve people’s services and experiences. The federation also expressed regret that 45,180 villages in the country do not have access to 4G services.

Broadband speed in India

TV Ramachandran, President of the Broadband Industry Forum (BIF), said that 2Mbps might not be fast enough for today’s broadband world. He said that for applications like telecommuting, file downloading, video conferencing, and streaming video (both SD and HD), people would need much faster speeds. He noted that they are confident that the big gap between those who have good internet access and those who don’t will start to close because of what the government has done recently.

As per connectivity insights company Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index rankings for January 2023, India jumped two spots to 79th against 81st ranking in December last year, in the median fixed broadband speed test category. For context, India’s median broadband speed stood at 50.02 Mbps from 49.14 Mbps in December. India stood at 81st ranking in November last year in the fixed broadband category.