Telecom regulator TRAI on Thursday invited public comments to explore ways and means to make smartphone affordable in the country for digital inclusion.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as part of its consultation paper on “Digital Inclusion in the Era of Emerging Technologies” will assess if measures taken by the government such as focussing on local manufacturing are sufficient to bring down the prices of smartphones in India.
“What measures should be taken to make digital devices and digital connectivity affordable to the citizens for empowering them to maximize the benefits of an inclusive digital society?” TRAI asked in the consultation paper.
In the paper, TRAI has cited example of smartphone financing and exploring viability of second hand smartphones in the country.
The regulator sees that the rapid pace of technological advancements and launch of 5G enabled services including artificial intelligence and machine learning can widen digital divide if not made affordable and accessible to marginalized communities and underserved regions.
“Unequal access of infrastructure, limited digital literacy, and affordability issues could hinder the equitable distribution and utilization of emerging technologies, exacerbating existing disparities in digital inclusion. To ensure comprehensive digital inclusion, it is imperative to address the gaps which are likely to arise due to emerging technologies,” TRAI said.
The regulator has fixed October 16 as last date for giving comments and October 31 for counter comments on the paper.