Trai makes case for unified licensing regime

NEW DELHI: Telecom and broadcast regulator Trai today made a strong case for introduction of unified licensing regime in the country, which, it said, would help in unification of networks and services like telecom, broadcasting and Internet leading to advanced and cheaper services to customers through Next Generation Networks or NGN.

"Telephony, data or television services had separate networks. With the efficient and cheaper IP technology forcing telecommunications networks to migrate to NGN, triple play would become common and would not be a value added service. Traffic of different services of data, television and subsequently voice would be simply enclosed in Internet protocol packets, transmitted over these networks, " Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in paper on NGN.

The regulator argued that just like access problems were sorted out through a unified access service licence, "if we are to move further towards convergence, we have to be in a unified licensing regime."

Pointing out that "unless license conditions and regulations are light handed, it would be virtually impossible to regulate", the Trai paper said an unified licence can easily deal with the converging technologies, carriage, service and platform.

The transition would be difficult but would bring with it the benefits to the Indian and mainly the rural economy.

"Such (NG) networks would be advantageous, particularly for rural areas where there is huge demand for information, telecom, TV and video and if these services could be delivered at cheap prices, the market would be huge," the paper said, adding India is the only country in world where cable TV connections are more than fixed line telephones and such networks would open up the possibility of delivery of cable TV channels in rural areas.

The unified licence would give an opportunity to service providers to innovate towards the best solution. Another option could be to bring a converged regime through a Convergence Act, Trai said.

Trai's recommendations on unified licensing regimes are pending with the department of telecom for quite some time now.

The detailed NGN study paper is available on the regulator's site, www.trai.gov.in.

Also read:

Trai publishes list of pay, FTA channels

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