Wednesday, 15 June 2011

DoT readies big-ticket changes in telecom policy

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering sweeping changes in the country's proposed new telecom policy. The department is planning a complete overhaul of the archaic Indian Telegraph Act. Under the new telecom policy, DoT also wants to replace the rollout obligation clause for broadband operators with a new incentive scheme. Other key proposals include re-farming of spectrum with operators for 3G and 4G and setting up of a telecom security council to oversee and audit all issues in this area. 
The internal groups in DoT, set up to look into various aspects of the telecom industry and put together the new telecom policy, have given broad suggestions which will come up for final discussions before a draft policy statement is prepared. 

The key takeaways of the suggestions include a road map, a time frame and broader guidelines to ensure availability of 800 Mhz spectrum by 2014. At present, there is no clear road map on the requirement and availability of spectrum every year, which has forced telcos not to have a long-term plan. 
The new scheme to replace the rollout obligation, a bone of contention between telcos and the government, will have service delivery objectives such as reducing licence fee if the service provider covers a specified area in quicker time.


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