DoT Archives


I thought that the Government of India finally solved the problem of getting rid of the universal service fund money that kept coming in. Sam Pitroda gave them the solution with NOFN, that was supposed to shift the money to BSNL and other government entities. And the money was given for little result. But the inflows were just too much. Now the accumulated balance is over USD 6 billion.
Apparently, the eight percent tax on the gross adjusted revenues of ISPs will not be implemented. Good. TRAI had suggested a uniform licence fee of 8 per cent of the AGR (adjusted gross revenue) for all ISP and ISP-Internet Telephony licences. Government levies licence fee on AGR of telecom firms after deducting some components that are not earned from telecom services. TRAI had earlier also recommended that government levy 8 per cent licence fee from April 1, 2013, but the proposal was deferred then, after questions raised on revenue items that should be considered for calculating the final charges.

Two more years for Bharat Broadband?

Posted on January 7, 2014  /  0 Comments

A few weeks back, we wrote about how late the NOFN train was running. It appears the USOF has accepted the reality that it cannot accelerate from 60 to 25,000 in 12 months and is asking for a two-year delay. We all know why government programs have tight deadlines. It has to do with the electoral cycle. What Nilekani achieved, Pitroda could not.
Big government administered projects always have a hard time getting rolling. Ask the Australians. We wish the Indian DoT the best in achieving incredible acceleration. The government has provided broadband connectivity to only 60 gram panchayats till now under the Rs 20,000 crore NOFN project, which has to cover 2.5 lakh panchayats by September 2015.
Last week The Hindu, in its editorial, has urged for a secondary market in spectrum trading. Having minimum download speeds of 2 Mbps, as opposed to the current standards of 256 Kbps, is contingent upon operators having access to adequate spectrum. Mobile companies in the US or Japan typically have 30-40 MHz of spectrum, compared with the 5 MHz or so available with Indian operators. With an active secondary market, operators can plan their capital investments through an optimal mix of airwaves between what they may want to ‘own’ and what could be ‘bought’ out. Such assessment can, moreover, be made on a continuous basis, unlike now where capacity creation is a function of official decisions on spectrum auctions.
We were flattered to see the highest authority for telecom in India use an image from our Teleuse@BOP research, unacknowledged, on the front page of its website. The image appears to have been taken from a post from our partner on this project, Nalaka Gunawardene. We have more good images. We’d happy to share them with an entity as prestigious as the DoT. Just ask.
Yesterday, the Indian Cabinet approved the National Telecom Policy, with five changes. I really would like to comment on it (and see if any of our suggested changes were incorporated) but at this point the Department of Telecom site says nothing. So all we have are news reports.