Welcome cheaper and faster Internet, TRAI asks Indian Government to waive landline broadband licence fee
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today asked the government to exclude fixed line broadband service from licence fee for at least 5 years. It has also suggested a list of measures to accelerate the roll out of high speed network.
It has also proposed a remodel of the government bodies involved in broadband related works, including transforming the Wireless Planning Commission into a legal body.
To promote fixed line BB (broadband), the licence fee on the profits earned on fixed line BB should be excused for at least 5 years,” The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in its recommendation on ‘Delivering Broadband Quickly’.
It has also advised to allow telecom operators to accumulate 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, Telecom Regulator, Trai removed interrelationship charges that a landline service provider has to pay to other operators for completing calls. This move has led BSNL and MTNL to promise cut in landline call rates.
It also suggested that the government needs to come up with policy to ease cost pressure on telecom companies in laying out underground fibre.
“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.
India is currently ranked at 113th position in the wireless or mobile broadband segment as suggested by the regulator. There are about 8 crore subscribers using broadband through their mobile phones or dongles as mentioned in the Trai data.
Khullar said that the government needs to provide more spectrum or audit spectrum held by organization to check if they are being used efficiently in the event they want to promote mobile broadband.
“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 government has been asked to take a decision on 700 Mhz band by the regulator– the best spectrum frequency for wireless telecom services within three months so that minutiae of its auction can be chalked out.
Trai has raised concerns over the delay by the government on guidelines on spectrum trading and sharing leading to efficient use of spectrum.
The regulator has strongly pressed the government to take a decision on spectrum sharing and trading guidelines in “no later than 3 months from now”.
These protocols will enable companies to take spectrum from other telecom player as well. Also, they will have to no longer wait for bids to get more spectrum.