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High-speed data services & on-demand bandwidth expectation prompt new telecom policy

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NEW DELHI: A new telecom policy, which will be application driven as compared to connectivity-driven National Telecom Policy 2012, will be ready soon. This was indicated by communications minister Manoj Sinha while speaking at a seminar here on ICT: Engendering New Governance Structure.

The new policy has to be focussed on the end-users and should look at the newer opportunities for expanding the availability of telecom services. He said the advent of high speed data services and enhanced expectations of the users to get real time on-demand bandwidth to run near real time live applications (such as OTT & VoD) had prompted the ministry to prepare new policies.

The Minister said there had been a six-fold increase in Data traffic in India rom 561 million GB in the first quarter to 2988 million GB in the third quarter of 2016-17, which was a whopping 400 per cent jump.

He said that for the first time, the Ministry had decided to involve a large pool of experts from outside the department to get more inputs from the citizens and stakeholders for the new policy.

He said the communications Sector had assumed the position of an essential infrastructure for socio-economic development in an increasingly knowledge-intensive world. He said as of April 2017, the country had close to 1.2 billion telephone connections, including 1.17 billion wireless telephone connections and similarly witnessed the rapid growth of the broadband connections now stands at 276.52 million.

Sinha said that while service providers are rapidly deploying the 4 G technology, his focus is on the need to expand the connectivity to all parts including the north-eastern and Left Wing Extremism affected areas; and to keep an eye on future generation that is 5 G technology and ensure that India plays a key role in standards development and get a healthy share of the innovations and patents in the 5G technology pool.

He said the FDI equity inflow in telecom sector from April 2016 to March 2017 was US$ 5564 million, which is more than four times the average inflow of about 1.3 billion dollars every year since 2013-14.

The Minister said the information superhighways are a must for growth in the 21st century. He said the Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules 2016 had been notified to ease the cable laying approval process and helps in Ease of Doing Business for Telecom Service Providers.

The Department of Telecom has announced the ‘Central Equipment Identity Register’ to pave the way for setting up of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) based device registration and authentication that will settle the cases of Mobile Phone Theft to a great extent.

The department is also actively considering the TRAI recommendations on addressing Telecom Consumer Grievances and urged the officers to propose a state-of-the-art technology driven solution that records, monitors and provides end-to-end monitoring of every grievance.

Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the world was looking at India as the next growth engine to grow from 7.6 percent to above 10 percent and this required huge effort by both the government and the private sector. She urged the Department of Telecom to become an Engine of Transformation and to act as infrastructure builder rather than a regulator.

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