Regulators

TRAI seeks to exempt small Internet Service Providers from tariff reporting requirement

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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed exempting any Internet Service Provider (ISP) from the reporting requirement during a financial year if the total number of its subscribers is less than 10,000 on the last day of the preceding financial year.

In a draft amendment to the Telecommunication Tariff Order 1999 for comments of the stakeholders, it has also sought to extend the existing exemption given to access providers in respect of tariff schemes offered to bulk customers in response to a tender process or as a result of negotiations between the access provider and such bulk customer to the ISPs also.

Stakeholders have been asked to send in their responses by 14 October.

TRAI is concerned that only 60.87 million broadband connections had been achieved against a target of 175 million connections by 2017. It says the country is nowhere near meeting the target for a service which is considered almost a basic necessity in many developed countries. Broadband is helping to deliver a wide range of services, from services directly related to the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations, to services in support of broader citizen participation or services leveraged across different sectors to bring more people into the formal economy. Therefore there is an urgent need to review the present policies and its implementation initiated to build infrastructure required for penetration of broadband in the country.

The Digital India project aims to offer a one-stop shop for Government services which would use the mobile phone as the backbone for its delivery mechanism. The Rs 1,13,000-crore initiative seeks to transform India into a connected knowledge economy offering world class services at the click of a mouse. Plans to digitally connect the country will be supported by modules on digital literacy in regional languages which the Government plans to run in the next few years.

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