04 Jan 2018 12:49 IST

Telecom policy draft eyes $100-b investment, sees India as global data hub

Telecom regulator seeks stakeholders’ inputs by January 19

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has sought stakeholders’ views on the New Telecom Policy (2018), which is slated to be announced by March.

The consultation paper put out by the Authority on Wednesday has suggested that the main objectives of the NTP-2018 include: attracting an investment equivalent to $100 billion in the communication sector; achieving 900 million broadband connections at a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps; develop 10 million public Wi-Fi hotspots in the country; catapult India into the top-50 nations in terms of network readiness.

“Through the present consultation paper, the Authority intends to seek views of stakeholders on the inputs for formulating National Telecom Policy 2018,” TRAI said. TRAI said the inputs have been prepared based on preliminary discussions with multiple stakeholders, including telecom operators, equipment manufacturers, industry bodies, and cloud-service providers.

Among the other objectives of the policy are increasing rural tele-density to 100 per cent, providing data connectivity of at least 1 Gbps speed to all gram panchayats, and enabling access to high-quality wireless broadband services at affordable prices to 90 per cent of the population. TRAI said NTP-2018 can have twin goals: facilitate development of communication infrastructure and services to achieve inclusive socio-economic growth in the country; and to propel India to become the frontrunner in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.

To establish India as a global hub for data communication, systems and services, TRAI has suggested prescribing licensing and regulatory framework for cloud-service providers; declaring data privacy, protection, and security laws; prescribing policy for cross-border data transfer; enacting net-neutrality laws; and incentivising setting up of International Data Centres in India.

The Authority has requested the stakeholders to give their written comments by January 19. It has also asked for their views on any other issue related to policy framework, which stakeholders feel is important for the growth of the telecom sector, along with justification.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had in August 2017 requested TRAI to provide its policy inputs for formulation of an NTP and, accordingly, the Authority prepared inputs for formulating the policy in line with the technological advancements in the sector and customer aspirations for digital services.

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