Friday, November 4, 2011

The Draft National Telecom Policy - 2011

The Draft National Telecom Policy was unveiled by Communications Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal. Though it is likely to bring cheer to 85 crore mobile users in our country, some are critical about it that it just addresses the issues arising from current controversies, but it doesn’t lay out a real roadmap for more unified and much more holistic approach to growing telecom in the country.
Some features of the NTP-2011 are: 
1. Mobile phone users can make calls without paying roaming charges and change operator outside their circle while retaining the same number if draft policy is implemented.
2. In the New Telecom Policy 2011 a proposal for separating the network operation procedure from that of service delivery has been put forth. In simple terms, while earlier a network operator furthered his own services, i.e. both operating a network and delivering the service with a single licence; the new NTP ruling will mean the need to have separate licences for each of these activities, thus drawing clear demarcations. The NTP ruling, also adds to it by saying that the same operator can hold two separate licences for the two separate heads of services mentioned above. 
3. The NTP 2011 has also provisioned for a new Spectrum Act. Under this act, those who receive spectrum will be able to pool, share, or trade them. Most importantly, in order to curb any wastage or hoarding of allotted spectrum, the ministry will carry out periodic audits. Additionally the NTP 2011 talks about separating spectrums from licences. A certain amount of spectrum, till now came free with the licences to the operators. Those seeking additional spectrum would then pay for the required amount, accordingly. Now, however, NTP 2011 will ensure all spectrum will be bought at market-determined prices.
4. The report further revealed the government, led by Sibal aimed at taking broadband connections in the country to 175 million by 2017, and to 600 million by 2020.
5. The distinction between local and STD calls would vanish, as the policy aims at a 'one-nation-one-licence' regime.

6. EXIT POLICY: NTP-2011 will also chalk out an exit policy for operators who want to surrender their licences, thereby giving needy operators access to spectrum and helping the exchequer earn more revenues. It would give an impetus to telecom manufacturing, now dominated by Chinese players, besides addressing the security issue as India faces the challenges of terrorism and cyber crime.

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