Telecomm '07 core committee narrows down on themes, issues

NEW DELHI: The second core committee meeting of the Telecomm 2007, held on Friday, has narrowed down the theme of this year's Summit and Exhibition (November1-3, Mumbai) as either "Role of telecom and IT: changing lifestyles", or "Role of telecom and IT as economic multiplier."

The theme, either way, would be consumer-centric. This is a broad consensus that emerged at the meeting, which also decided on having eight conference sessions.

These would be E-governance (including education, health, etc.); two sessions on the more complex issues of New Generation Network and WiMax; another two sessions on the emerging technology of IPTV / mobile TV, with emphasis on content provider; spectrum and infrastructure sharing; need for a new telecom policy initiative; and investment opportunities and challenges in the sectors.

The meeting, chaired by former BSNL CMD Prithipal Singh, has sent the recommendations to the chairperson, who will finalise the issues and the main theme.

Most of the speakers followed the initial argument of Satya Narayan Gupta, chief regulatory advisor (SAARC region) of BT Global Services, who said that the theme has been more or less settled by the government, with the I&B minister's slogans of 2007: Year of Broadband and Trai's slogan of 2007: Year of the Consumer.

What emerged at the Core Committee meeting, in which indiantelevision.com was also an invitee, is a fair merger of the two slogans, as is reflected in the theme as well as the special attention, in the form double sessions, for the topics of NGN and WiMax and two for IPTV and mobile TV.

There was considerable discussion on the lack of enough data and services not reaching the people in the languages they understand. In fact, one speaker pointed out that the Edusat, created at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, is yet to achieve its basic targets.

Indra Mohan, president of India-tech, an industry association for international techno-economic cooperation, said that there was need for technology that can bridge the two Indias: urban and rural.

In fact, Sanjeev Kumar Seth, Deputy Director General (Commercial), BSNL, bluntly asserted that all the talk about teledensity of 11 in India is a distorted image, and especially in rural India, it will not be more than 2.

NK Mohapatra of Midas Communication Technologies Pvt Ltd said there is a failure in adequate data generation, and held that in the absence of a proper data delivery system, telecom would become a bottleneck.

Mohaopatra also raised the important point of why financing agencies are not investing in telecom infrastructure business. He said that these institutions have shown a remarkable reluctance in investing, because they must have realised that the returns are much too low.

Mohapatra raised the issue of ferreting out what ails investment, and this was supported by many industry leaders attending the meeting, leading to the decision on a full session on challenges and opportunities in investment in the sector.

Prithipal Singh pointed out also to the vast expansion of the telecom sector, and yet, stressed that there were too many problems in customers getting adequate service. "The mobile service quality in the second phase of the mobile sector growth is not at all what the first phase had given," he said.

The organisers also announced the rates for sponsorship in four categories: Diamond (Rs seven lakh); platinum (Rs 4.5 lakh); gold (Rs 3'5 lakh) and silver (three lakh).

The organisers have asked the participants to give written notes on specific topics under the issues for discussion at the conference, and also suggest names of the experts who would head the various discussions.

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