The Optimum internet test, which aims to provide internet access to all Indian households, has been cancelled by the government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The test, conducted in November last year, found the internet connectivity in the country was weak and people were unable to connect to the internet, but the results were good enough to encourage Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce a new test to be launched in 2020.
In the aftermath of the outbreak, the government sought to improve internet access for all Indians by developing a new internet infrastructure to help ensure the country’s internet connectivity remains strong.
However, the testing was cancelled in March due to the coronivirus pandemics threat to the country.
India’s government said it had received the results of the tests and it would take immediate action.
The government had asked the telecom regulator and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to conduct a “Spectrum Internet” test to gauge internet connectivity and capacity.
The tests were conducted under the Indian Telco Corporation (ITC) Act to ensure a robust and reliable broadband infrastructure.
However in February, a three-member panel of experts had recommended the government to discontinue the tests.
The new tests were also opposed by the Opposition.
“I am disappointed that the Prime Minister, while he is announcing the launch of the new tests, has cancelled them, as he is trying to get the population to connect with the internet,” said Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who is also the Minister of State for Communications.
The Prime Minister has been vocal about his desire to create a nationwide broadband network, saying India has a “unique opportunity” to do so.
The government had been preparing to launch the test, but it was scrapped as a precautionary measure due to lack of availability.