Telecom policy is now ‘Digital Communications Policy’; reflects changing times

In tune with the changing times, the government has renamed the New Telecom Policy (NTP) to National Digital Communications Policy – 2018. The draft policy, which has been called the NTP for more than three decades, was made public late Tuesday night with a new name. It reflects that communications, at the national level, is not limited to only telephony but also to data that leverages next generation of technology.

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All stakeholders have been invited can give their feedback. The policy aims to provide 40 lakh new jobs by 2022 and attract an investment of $100 billion. The policy also aims to ensure broadband coverage of 50 mbps for every citizen.

The draft also proposes to address woes of debt-ridden telecom sector by reviewing licence fees, spectrum usage charges, universal service obligation fund levy – all of which add to cost of Telecom Services.

The contribution of the digital communications sector in India’s GDP will be enhanced to 8 per cent from about 6 per cent in 2017, said the draft.

Highlights of the draft policy

  • Aims to provide fixed line broadband access to 50 per cent households in the country and start Landline Portability Services.
  • Universal broadband coverage at 50 mbps to every citizen,1 gbps connectivity to all gram panchayats by 2020 and 10 gbps by 2022.
  • Adoption of ‘Optimal Pricing of Spectrum’ to ensure sustainable and affordable access to Digital Communications.
  • Recognition of mid-band spectrum, particularly the 3 GHz to 24 GHz range, for next-generation networks.
  • Roadmap for in-demand backhaul spectrum for transmitting signals between mobile towers in E and V band as per international best practices.
  • Aims to remove regulatory barriers and reduce the regulatory burden that hampers investments, innovation and consumer interest.
  • Rationalise taxes and levies on Digital Communications equipment, infrastructure and services.

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