Economic Survey 2017- 18: Telecom sector is going through a stress period with growing losses

Government is in the process of formulating the New Telecom Policy, targeted to be released in 2018, after holding the wide range of consultations with various stakeholders.

By Priyanka
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The Economic Survey 2017-18 today said it is important to note that the telecom sector is going through a stress period with growing losses, debt pile, price war, reduced revenue and irrational spectrum costs and new entrant has disrupted the market with low-cost data services and the revenue of incumbent players has fallen.

Economic Survey 2017- 18: Telecom sector is going through a stress

 

The crisis has also severely impacted investors, lenders, partners and vendors of these telecom companies, the survey said.

The survey pointed out that, the Government is in the process of formulating the New Telecom Policy, targeted to be released in 2018, after holding the wide range of consultations with various stakeholders. The major themes that new Telecom Policy shall try to address include Regulatory & Licensing frameworks impacting the sector, Connectivity for All, Quality of Services, Ease of Doing Business and Absorption of New Technologies including 5G and Internet of Things and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also recommended the new policy on 'Net Neutrality' which prohibits discriminatory tariffs for data services.

It said that, Government is committed to extending the reach of telecom network to the remote and rural villages, and bridging the digital divide with support from all stakeholders and it is implementing the flagship 'Bharat Net' project (in two phases), to link each of the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of India through optical fibre network. This is the largest rural connectivity project of its kind in the world and is the first pillar of Digital India Programme.

It will facilitate the delivery of various e-Services and applications including e-health, e-education, e-governance and e-commerce in the future. Work on phase I of the project is progressing at a brisk pace. As on November 2017, the fibre has reached 1,03,275 Gram Panchayats with the laying of 2,38,677 km. of optical fibre cable. The Government has launched Phase II of Bharat Net project with an outlay of Rs 30,920 crore on 13th November 2017. The phase II, which will connect 1.5 lakh Gram Panchayats through high-speed broadband, is likely to be completed by March 2019.

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