National Telecom Policy 2011: What are the strategies of the India government

India is gearing up to implement a new telecom policy. The thrust of the policy is to underscore the imperative that sustained adoption of technology would offer viable options in overcoming developmental challenges in education, health, employment generation, financial inclusion and much else.

In achieving the goal of National Telecom Policy 2011 revenue generation will play a secondary role. 

The following are the government’s strategies to achieve new milestones:

–To make efforts to recognise telecom and broadband connectivity as a basic necessity like education and health and work towards -Right to Broadband’.

–To revise the existing broadband download speed of 256 Kbps to 512 Kbps by 2011 and subsequently to 2 Mbps by 2015 and and higher speeds of atleast 100 Mbps thereafter.

–To spur the domestic telecom equipment manufacturing segment to meet the indigenous demands for becoming self-reliant in telecom/ICT equipment design and manufacturing.

–To encourage indigenous manufacturing of cost effective customer end terminals and devices including mobile devices, SIM cards with enhanced features etc.

–To build synergies between existing, on-going and future Government programs viz e- governance, e-panchayat, NREGA, NKN, AADHAR, AAKASH tablet etc. and roll-out of broadband.

— To ensure the availability of sufficient microwave spectrum to meet current and future demand for wireless backhaul especially in prime bands below 12 GHz, in addition to higher spectrum bands. Unlicensed spectrum will be made available for proliferation of wireless broadband services.

–To ensure focused indigenous development in the telecom sector, efforts would be concentrated towards a definite policy direction by creating a suitable road-map to align technology, demand, standards and regulations, after considered evaluation of candidate technologies and the emerging trends.

–To create fund to promote indigenous R&D, IPR creation, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, commercialising and deployment of state-of-the-art telecom products and services.

–To promote setting up of Telecommunications Standard Development Organisation (TSDO) as an autonomous body with strong participation of the industry, R&D centres, service providers, and academia to drive consensus regarding national requirements.

–To orient, review and harmonise the legal, regulatory and licensing framework in a time bound manner to enable seamless delivery of converged services in technology neutral environment. The convergence would cover convergence of services, networks and devices.

–To encourage digitalisation of the local cable networks.

–To allow sharing of Networks and delink the licensing of Networks from the delivery of Service to the end users to facilitate faster roll out of services across the country , enhance the quality of service, optimize the investment and address the issue of the digital divide.

The technology neutral Unified Licenses are envisaged to be in two separate categories:

a.       Network Service Operator (NSO)/ Communication Network Service Operator (CNSO)

b.      Service Delivery Operator (SDO)/ Communication Service Delivery Operator (CSDO)

–To facilitate resale at service level both wholesale and retail especially keeping in mind the need for robust competition at the consumer end while ensuring due compliance with security and other license related obligations.

–To delink spectrum in respect of all future licences. Spectrum shall be made available at price through market related processes.

–To frame an appropriate Exit Policy for the licencees.

–To put in place a framework to regulate the carriage charges, which are content neutral and based on the bandwidth utilisation.

–To permit spectrum pooling, sharing and later, trading for optimal and efficient utilisation of spectrum.

— To undertake periodic audit of spectrum utilisation to ensure its efficient use.

–To move existing users of spectrum i.e. Government departments, public sector, private sector and telecom service providers to alternative frequency bands or media to make spectrum available for introduction of new technologies.

–To prepare a roadmap for availability of additional spectrum every 5 years.

–To consider requirement of spectrum in certain frequency bands in small chunks at specified locations for encouraging indigenous development of technologies/ products and their deployment.

–To enact a separate Spectrum Act which inter-alia deals with all issues connected with wireless (spectrum) licences and their terms and conditions.

–To work towards recognition of telecom as Infrastructure Sector for both wireline and wireless and extension of the benefits available to infrastructure sectors to telecom sector also, to realize true potential of ICT for development.

–To finalise sector specific schemes and targets for promotion of green technologies in consultation with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and other stakeholders.

–To prescribe sectoral Standard Operating Procedures for effective and early mitigation during disasters and emergencies. To mandate Telecom Service Providers to provide alternative reliable means of communication at the time of disaster by creating appropriate regulatory framework.

–To identify the performance standards and QoS parameters benchmarked against the best international standards and evolve suitable compliance mechanism in consultation with TRAI.  To improve transparency, NTP -2011 recognises the need for formulating a separate Code of Practice for Sales and Marketing.

–To undertake legislative measures to bring disputes between telecom consumers and service providers within the jurisdiction of Consumer Forums/ Consumer Protection Act.

–To create an institutional framework through regulatory measures to ensure that safe-to-connect devices are inducted into the Telecom Network and service providers take measures for ensuring the security of the network and the data/information flowing/stored in it.

–To build national capacity in all areas – specifically security standards, security testing, interception and monitoring capabilities and manufacturing of critical telecom equipment – that impinges on Telecom network security and communication assistance for law enforcement.

–To ensure security in an increasingly insecure cyber space, indigenously manufactured multi-functional SIM cards with indigenously designed chips incorporating specific laid down standards are considered critical. The whole electronics eco-system for this and other purposes, starting from the wafer fab needs to be built and hence is viewed as a key policy objective and outcome.

–To exploit individual strengths of organisations under DoT/DIT to their mutual benefit for ensuring these organisations to effectively flourish in the competitive telecom market while adequately supporting the security needs of the country. Efforts will be made for according preferential treatment for procurement of products and services rendered by individual organisations.

–To take new policy initiatives to ensure rapid expansion of cloud services and technologies at globally competitive prices by addressing the concerns of cloud users and other stakeholders including specific steps that need to be taken for lowering the cost of service delivery.

–To recognize the role of new technologies in furthering public welfare and enhanced customer choices through affordable access and efficient service delivery. The emergence of new service formats such as Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications (e.g. remotely operated irrigation pumps, smart grid etc.) represent tremendous opportunities, especially as their roll-out becomes more widespread.

–To create a special purpose Telecom Finance Corporation as a vehicle to mobilize and channelize financing for telecom projects in order to facilitate investment in the telecom sector.

–To endeavor to include telecom sector projects within the ambit of financing from existing entities such as India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL).

–To rationalize taxes and levies affecting the sector and work towards providing a stable fiscal regime to stimulate investments and making services more affordable.

–To review the TRAI Act with a view to addressing regulatory inadequacies/ impediments in effective discharge of its functions.

–To undertake a comprehensive review of Indian Telegraph Act and its rules and other allied legislations with a view to making them consistent with and in furtherance of the above policy objectives.

By Team
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