The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) today said that National Telecom Policy will propel India "as a key player in the global knowledge revolution" and "help to create 40 lakh new jobs".
"The new policy recognizes spectrum as a natural resource and therefore sets tasks of ensuring adequate availability, efficient usage and putting together a fair and transparent allocation method for service providers," said Rajan S Mathews, DG, COAI.
COAI also pointed out that industry had suggested for allowing tax-free bonds for the sector.
The New draft policy proposes extending incentives and exemptions for the construction of telecom towers and provide for accelerated Rights of Way permissions for telecom towers in government premises, COAI further pointed out.
We believe these steps will usher in the new era of telecom revolution in the country by making telecom and digital services accessible to everyone and will also bring in the much-needed relief to the industry, COAI added.
With an aim to create 4 Million additional jobs, enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8 percent of India's GDP from 6 percent in 2017, to provide broadband coverage at 50 Mbps to every citizen, 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats of India by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022,and to deploy of public Wi-Fi Hotspots; to reach 5 million by 2020 and 10 million by 2022, the government has came out out with the draft policy 2018.
It talks about of reviewing the regulatory regime for satellite communication technologies including:
i. Revising licensing and regulatory conditions that limit the use of satellite communications, such as speed barriers, band allocation, etc.
ii. Simplifying compliance requirements for VSAT operators to ensure faster rollout.
iii. Expanding the scope of permissible services under the Unified Licensing regime using High Throughput Satellite communication systems.
The draft policy said that the spectrum allocation should be a fair, flexible, simple and transparent.
Meanwhile, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) today said the draft policy talks of various enabling provisions such as facilitation of the establishment of mobile tower infrastructure by incentives and exemptions for construction of towers.
Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, TAIPA The draft policy talks of promoting collaboration models involving state, local bodies and private sector as necessary for the provisioning of shared duct infrastructure in municipalities, rural areas, and national highways."
He said, "This is very important to do as state bodies have their own policies which sometimes leads to coercive action on mobile towers, unusual delays in approvals, high fees, and multiplicity of documents etc. ultimately impacting the bigger goals such as Digital India."
"The policy envisages to develop a robust telecom infrastructure as the draft policy talks about smooth Right of Way approvals in states,fiber-to-the-tower, low-cost financing for the development of communication infrastructure, security of physical infrastructure and sharing of active infrastructure by enhancing the scope of IP-Is etc. In a nutshell, the draft policy is in the right direction but the most critical part will be the implementation, Dua added.
However, Internet and Mobile Association of India said that it is a very ambitious policy and even if five of these targets are met by 2022, then it would have made a significant contribution of the digital economy.
The goals to provide Universal broadband coverage at 50 Mbps to every citizen; provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Mbps by 2022; enable 100 Mbps broadband on demand to all key development institutions etc are crucial policy initiatives, which will address the problem of access, IAMAI added.