Unified licensing system covers convergence of technologies

NEW DELHI: The New Telecom Policy announced by the Government will aim to address and enable the coordinated action to respond to the dynamic needs resulting from confluence of telecom, broadcasting and IT sectors.

The aim will be to move towards a Unified Licence regime in order to exploit the attendant benefits of convergence, for which there is already an in-principle acceptance. A migration path will also have to be provided for existing licensees to Unified Licence Regime.

The Policy, announced by Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, says "it is now imperative to move towards convergence between telecom, broadcast and IT services, networks, platforms, technologies and overcome the existing segregation of licensing, registration and regulatory mechanisms in these areas to enhance affordability, increase access, delivery of multiple services and reduce cost. It will be a key enabler of equitable and inclusive growth. The policy aims to address and enable the coordinated action to respond to the dynamic needs resulting from confluence of telecom, broadcasting and IT sectors." 

Given the continued predominant role of wireless technologies in delivery of services in ICT sector, NTP-2011 incorporates framework for increasing the availability of spectrum for telecom services including triple play services (voice, video and data) for which broadband is the key driver. This will be facilitated by deployment of services through appropriate instrumentalities, while safeguarding national interests.

Referring to licensing, convergence and value added services, the Policy says the aim is to orient, review and harmonise the legal, regulatory and licensing framework in a time bound manner to enable seamless delivery of converged services in technology neutral environment.

Convergence would cover voice, data, video, Internet telephony (VoIP), value added services and broadcasting services. It will mean convergence of networks - convergence of access network, carriage network (NLD/ ILD) and broadcast network.

Convergence of devices like the telephone, Personal Computer, Television, Radio, inter-operable set top boxes and other connected devices will also become a necessity. NTP 2011 will encourage digitiaation of the local cable networks. 
The Minister said NTP-2011 endeavours to create an investor friendly environment for attracting additional investments in the sector apart from generating manifold employment opportunities in various segments of the sector.

In achieving the goals of National Telecom Policy 2011 revenue generation will play a secondary role.

NTP-2011 has the vision Broadband on Demand and envisages leveraging telecom infrastructure to enable all citizens and businesses, both in rural and urban landscape, to participate in the Internet and web economy, thereby ensuring equitable and inclusive development across the nation. It provides the enabling framework for enhancing India’s competitiveness in all spheres of the economy.

NTP-2011 envisages support to platform neutral services in
e-governance and m-governance in key social sectors such as health, education and agriculture that are at present limited to a few organisations in isolated pockets. This will expand the footprint of these services and, thus, foster an atmosphere of participative democracy delivery model that is truly citizen-centric.

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