The recently released Draft Telecom Policy – 2011 has proposed inter-circle portability and elimination of roaming charges. Other objectives and strategies of the proposed policy were released yesterday by Ministry of ICT.

Following are some key points relevant to users and startups.

Policy Obejectives:

  • Increase in rural teledensity from the current level of around 35 to 60 by the year 2017 and 100 by the year 2020.
  • Provide affordable and reliable broadband on demand by the year 2015 and to achieve 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600 million by the year 2020 at minimum 2 Mbps download speed and making available higher speeds of atleast 100 Mbps on demand.
  • To reposition the mobile phone from a mere communication device to an instrument of empowerment that combines communication with proof of identity, fully secure financial and other transaction capability, multi-lingual services and a whole range of other capabilities that ride on them and transcend the literacy barrier.
  • Achieve substantial transition to new Internet Protocol (IPv 6) in the country in a phased and time bound manner by 2020 and encourage an ecosystem for provision of a significantly large bouquet of services on IP platform.

Strategies Proposed:

  • 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 encourage digitalisation of the local cable networks.
  • To frame an appropriate Exit Policyfor the licencees.
  • To permit spectrum pooling, sharing and later, trading for optimal and efficient utilisation of spectrum.
  • 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 undertake legislative measures to bring disputes between telecom consumers and service providers within the jurisdiction of Consumer Forums/ Consumer Protection Act.
  • 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.

What do you think of the objectives and strategies laid down? Is DoT thinking out-of-the box?

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