Television

A spectrum policy soon, says telecom minister Maran

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NEW DELHI: Infotech and communications minister Dayanidhi Maran today made a strong pitch for India as an attractive destination for investments by saying the government has rolled out several initiatives in this regard and the country offers a huge market for communications-related services.

"It is my dream that the state-of-the-art-technology in telecom and broadband must percolate down to the individuals living in far-flung rural areas of the country, " Maran said , while speaking on the theme "Mobile Communication as Driver for Social Development and Economic Growth" at the 3rd GSM World Congress at Cannes in France.

Inviting investors to look at India for establishing their units in India to make it a hub not only for domestic supplies but also for servicing other countries of the region, Maran said though India has allowed 100 per cent FDI in the manufacturing sector, it is has not lead to expected growth.

To surpass the target of providing 250 million telephone connections over the next three years, the country has to reduce dependence on imports. He assured the international community that India's fiscal , taxation , trade policies will be in tune with the expectations of the telecom manufacturers to achieve the objectives.

Speaking about the progress made by India in communications sector, Maran said the country has been keeping in pace with the fast-changing technologies and today ranks among the top 10 telecom networks in the world and the second largest in Asia.

"We have more than 90 million telephone subscribers with a tele-density of around 8.62 per cent. A target of providing 250 million telephone connections by the year 2007 has been set. A target of 3 million broadband subscribers and 6 million Internet subscribers is planned to be achieved by December 2005," he said reeling out numbers that could zap foreign investors looking at Asian markets.

Pointing out that foreign direct investment (FDI) in this sector has been encouraging with more than $ 2 billion already invested in the sector, Maran highlighted that the government has taken a decision to raise the FDI ceiling from 49 per cent to 74 per cent in the telecom sector

The global community was assured that India will soon come out with a spectrum policy, which will be technology-neutral, in tune with the established policy and international practices.

Maran said, "We in India do not commit ourselves to any single technology. Our policy is technology neutral. But it does not mean that we embrace inefficient or discarded technologies."

He further said, "We are also committed to ensure that paucity of spectrum does not throttle the growth of the telecom industry. We therefore foresee participative growth of all players as well as technologies. A telecom team is already looking into issues relating to spectrum."

Likewise, India is looking forward to introduce 3G services and watching the developments elsewhere keenly.

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