Telecom regulator Trai today asked the government to exempt fixed line broadband service from licence fee for at least 5 years and suggested a series of measures to expedite the roll out of high speed network, reports PTI.
It has also suggested a revamp of the government bodies involved in broadband related works, including converting the Wireless Planning Commission into a statutory body.
“To promote fixed line BB (broadband), the licence fee on the revenues earned on fixed line BB should be exempted for at least 5 years,” The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in its recommendation on ‘Delivering Broadband Quickly’.
It has suggested allowing telecom operators to bundle desktops, laptops, tablets and so on with their broadband schemes. “Revenues from such offers ought to be exempted from the applicable license fee at least for a certain number of years (say for three years).”
In February, Trai removed interconnection charges that a landline service provider has to pay to other operators for completing calls. This led BSNL and MTNL promising cut in landline call rates.
The government needs to come out with policy to ease cost burden on telecom companies in laying out underground fibre, it suggested.
“Cost of laying fibre in some cities is as high as Rs 1.92 crore for a kilometer apart from cost of fiber. The fiber itself costs Rs 65,000 a kilometer. This issue needs to be resolved otherwise who will lay fibre,” Trai Chairman Rahul Khullar said.
The regulator said India is ranked at 113th in the wireless or mobile broadband segment. As per latest Trai data, there were about 8 crore subscribers using broadband through their mobile phones or dongles.
Khullar said that to push mobile broadband, government needs to either provide more spectrum or audit spectrum held by organisation to check if they are efficiently using it.
“Everybody sitting on spectrum should be audited. Spectrum availability in India is 40 per cent compared to foreign countries. When there is scarcity of resource then you either increase supply or use it efficiently,” he said.
The regulator has asked the government to take a decision on 700 Mhz band — the best spectrum frequency for wireless telecom services within three months so that details of its auction can be worked out.
Trai has expressed concerns over the government delaying guidelines on spectrum trading and sharing which could lead to efficient use of spectrum.
The regulator strongly urged the government that a decision is taken “no later than 3 months from now” on spectrum sharing and trading guidelines.
These guidelines will allow companies to take spectrum from other telecom player as well and they will not have to wait for auctions for get more spectrum.
Posted by : Gizmeon