Sibal promises new National Telecom Policy in 2011, transparent regime

File photo of Kapil SibalFile photo of Kapil Sibal

Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal today said his Ministry would initiate action to formulate a comprehensive National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2011 to take into account the changes that have taken place in the industry since NTP 1999 was put in place.

The new policy would include recognition of telecommunication as infrastructure and as an essential service, encouraging "green" telecom, steps to accelerate migration from IPv4 to IPv6 at the ealriest, release of IPv6 standards by the Telecom Engineering Centre for implementation in the country, he said.

Unveiling the Action Plan of his Ministry for the next 100 days at a press conference here today, Mr Sibal said it had been worked out so as to ensure that common people got services at reasonable cost, the industry remains robust and the Government gets its share of revenue.

He said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) would hold consultations with key stakeholders to evolve a clear and transparent regime covering licensing, spectrum allocation, tariffs/pricing, linkages with rollout performance, flexibility within licences, spectrum sharing, spectrum trading, mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), unlicensed bands, mergers and acquisitions, and so on in a technology agnostic environment after due consideration of the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

In this regard, the interest of the "aam aadmi" (common man) would be the prime consideration, he said.

Mr Sibal said that, to ensure availability of spectrum for the telecom industry, dialogue would be initiated with the Departments of Space, Information and Broadcasting and Defence as well as public sector undertakings (PSUs) on vacation of spectrum and for identification of defence band and defence interest zone.

He said the National Frequency Allocation Plan 2011 (NFAP) would be released during the 100-day period.

Spectrum allocations, availability and status of pending applications for spectrum shall be published on the department’s web site, he said.

The Minister said immediate steps would be taken to resolve outstanding security issues and to enable operators to launch 3G services in their entire plentitude without delay.

He said security issues regarding telecom equipment procurement, messenger services and subscriber verification will be resolved. Steps will be taken to establish the Central Monitoring System which will facilitate and prevent misuse of lawful interception facility, he said.

He said all possible efforts would be made to fill up board-level vacancies in PSUs and for greater participation of BSNL, MTNL and C-DOT in national and socially important programmes, while addressing structural issues, improving internal efficiency and financial performance of BSNL and MTNL.

Mr Sibal said Mobile Number Portability (MNP), which has already been introduced in Haryana, would be launched country-wide within the 100-day period.

He said steps would be taken to address public concerns about health hazards due to electric and magnetic field radiation from mobile towers, including laying down relevant standards, supplementing equipment with TERM Cells and ensuring adequate field-testing.

Mr Sibal promised formulation of a package of measures to promote manufacturing of telecom equipment in the country. He also said the Government would launch a wireless broadbrand scheme by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to provide wireless broadband coverage to about five lakh villages, leveraging the existing passive infrastructure created for mobile telephony in rural and remote areas.

He said concrete steps would be taken towards finalisation of the National Broadband Plan, including a strategy for implementation and initiation of steps for rollout of optical fibre.


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