Ookla, the company behind Speedtest, has released the Speedtest Global Index of January saying that the average fixed broadband speeds improved and while the mobile internet speeds remained steady in the country. India captured 128th spot (out of 140) for mobile broadband and 66th place (out of 176) for fixed broadband. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) topped the mobile download speeds chart with 87.01 Mbps, and Singapore leads the world on fixed broadband download with 202.21 Mbps.
According to the index, India’s performance in mean download speeds on fixed broadband went down from 40.11 Mbps in December 2019 to 38.84 in January 2020. However, India recorded a marginal improvement in mean download speeds on mobile broadband front from those of December 2019. Mean download speeds on mobile broadband have gone up from 11.46 Mbps to 11.58 Mbps in January 2020. When it comes to ranking, India moved up a spot on fixed broadband, but it remained on the same mobile broadband ranking.
According to Ookla, India leads in mean download speeds on fixed broadband amongst neighbouring countries. Thanks to Reliance Jio’s rollout of its new GigaFiber service in India, the fixed broadband speeds will continue to increase in the country. At the same time, India is facing a crisis in the telecom market, which is currently ruled by three private sector companies: Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been asked to pay (a combined) statutory dues of Rs 1.64 lakh crore. Fresh reports suggest that these dues are likely to rise by as much as 40 per cent because of new calculations by the Telecom Department. The dues include the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 92,642 crore in licence fees, interest and penalties (till FY17), and spectrum usage charge (SUC) dues of Rs 70,869 crore (updated till January 23, 2020).
AGR dues updated till FY19 will increase the burden on the telcos, especially cash-strapped Vodafone Idea. If the government is not able to provide some relief to companies, Vodafone Idea could collapse, which in-turn, would have impact the sector and the economy, causing job losses and denting India’s image as an investment hotbed.