The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is seeking inputs from stakeholders on its formulated recommendations to the Department of Telecommunications, on the New Telecom Policy 2018, which essentially seeks to cover the following areas:

  • Regulatory and licensing frameworks impacting the telecom sector
  • Connectivity for all
  • Quality of services
  • Ease of doing business
  • Absorption of new technologies including 5G and IoT

Comments need to be sent to SK Singhal, Advisor, TRAI, at sksinghal[AT]trai.gov.in by 19th January 2018, so there’s not much time left to do this.

The TRAI has prepared the following framework via closed door “brainstorming” consultations with telecom operators, equipment manufacturers, IT companies, content providers, data centre companies, broadcast and cable companies:

Suggested policy framework

Goals
(i) facilitate development of communication infrastructure and services to achieve inclusive socio-economic growth in the country, and
(ii) to propel India to become the front-runner in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Mission:

  • To fulfil the communication needs of the people, enterprises,and industries at affordable prices;
  • To develop state-of-the-art secured communication infrastructure for delivering high-quality quality services to man and machines in urban as well as rural areas;
  • To establish India as global hub for internet and data communication systems and services in a net-neutral environment;
  • To make available ubiquitous, ultra-reliable, and secured connectivity with extremely low latency for IoT/ M2M applications;
  • To develop home-growndigital platforms and services for meeting the specific need of the country;To aim for self sufficiency in telecom equipment manufacturing;

C. Objectives:

(a)To increase rural tele-density to 100 %;
(b)To provide data connectivity of at least 1 Gbps speed to all the Gram Panchayats;
(c)To enable access for wirelinebroadband services to 50% households in the country;
(d)To enable access for high-quality wireless broadband services at affordable prices to 90% population;
(e)To achieve 900 million broadband connections at a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps, out of that at-least 150 million broadband connections at a minimum download speed of 20 Mbps;
(f)To develop 10 million public Wi-Fi hotspots in the country;
(g)To attain average speed of 20 Mbps for wireless, and 50 Mbps for wireline internet connectivity;
(h)To leapfrog India amongst top-50 nations in international rankings in terms of network readiness, communications systems,and services;
(i)To enable access for connecting to 10 billion IoT/ M2M sensors/ devices;
(j)To attract an investment equivalent to USD 100 billion in communication sector;
(k)To become net positive in international trade of communication systems and services;

D. Common Strategies to leapfrog India amongst top-50 nations in international rankings in terms of network readiness, communications systems and services, to attract an investment of USD 100 billion in telecommunication sector, and to attain average speed of 20 Mbps for wireless and 50 Mbps for wireline internet connectivity:

(a) By recognising communication systems and services as essential connectivity infrastructure for development of India;
(b) By making available finance for communication infrastructure projects (i-ways) at par with other connectivity infrastructure sectors like Roadways, Railways, Waterways, Airways etc.
(c) Review of license fee, USOF levy, and SUC keeping in view importance of communication infrastructure in socio-economic development;
(d) By restructuring of legal, licensing and regulatory frameworks for reaping the benefits of convergence;
(e) With the separation of network and service layers, by separating licenses/ permissions for rollout of networks, and provisioning of services;
(f) By working towards One Nation –One License for services;
(g) By easing grant of licenses/ permissions processes for spectrum, wireless apparatus, and SACFA clearance to improve efficiency, innovation, and research;
(h) Review of license and regulatory compliance costs on licensees keeping in view the international practices;
(i) By allowing broadcast services using cellular mobile networks;
(j) Integrated regulation of ICT and broadcasting sector led by economic and social policy goals of the country;
(k) Restructuring of TRAI as converged regulator for ICT and Broadcasting sector;
(l) Review of SATCOM policy for communication services keeping in view the international developments, and social & economic needs of the country;
(m) By engaging with the State Governments and Local Bodies for faster rollout of communication infrastructure;
(n) For ensuring non-discriminatory time bound RoW permissions -a nation-wide common portal for application and approval.
(o) By developing a network readiness index for States/ UTs to address RoW challenges;
(p) By mapping telecom infrastructure assets like OFC cables, common service ducts and towers on NIC’s National GIS Platform;
(q) By making provisions for establishment of common service ducts for underground telecom infrastructure in the Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules, 2016.
(r) By reviewing the objectives of spectrum management to maximise socio-economic gains;
(s) By monitoring efficient utilization of spectrum by conducting regular audit of the spectrum allocated to both commercial as well as government organizations;
(t) By declaring roadmap for availability and auction of spectrum in different bands in ensuing period;
(u) By ensuring adequate availability of contiguous, broader and globally harmonised spectrum.
(v) By earmarking unlicensed frequency bands periodically for operation of low power devices for public use; (w)By reduce entry barriers to promote R&D, innovation, and Startups in the sector;
(x) By developing digitally skilled human resources in the country;
(y) By establishing NTIPRIT as an apex institute for policy practitioners, industry, researchers, academicians
(z) By strengthening consumer grievance redressal mechanisms through awareness & protection
(aa) By establishing office of telecom ombudsman and centralized web based compliant redressal system
(bb) By increasing international coordination

E. Strategies to increase rural tele-density to 100%and to provide data connectivity of at least 1 Gbps speed to all the Gram Panchayats

(a) By further developing institutional capacity to improve focus on execution of Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)schemes for equitable development;
(b) By promoting sharing of telecom infrastructure among telecom service providers;
(c) By incentivizing the telecom service providers for faster roll-out of services in remote and rural areas;
(d) By facilitating sub-marine cable connectivity to the inhabited islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands; and
(e) By promoting use of satellites to provide telephony and broadband services in remote and inaccessible areas through–
i) rationalization satellite transponder and spectrum charges; and
ii) making available additional transponders,and new spectrum bands (such as Ka band) for satellite-based commercial communication services.

F. Strategies to enable access for wireline broadband services to 50% households in the country; to enable access for high-quality wireless broadband services at affordable prices to 90% population; to develop 10 million public Wi-Fi hotspots in the country; and to achieve 900 million broadband connections at a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps, out of that at-least 150 million broadband connections at a minimum download speed of 20 Mbps:

(a) By adopting a National Broadband Plan (NBP) for enabling access to at least 90% household using wireline, wireless, and satellite resources optimally;
(b) By facilitating development of Open Access Networks to improve access and affordability of communication services;
(c) By promoting sharing of telecom infrastructure amongst telecom service providers;
(d) By upgradation of cable TV networks for delivery of converged broadcast and broadband services;
(e) By incentivizing fixed-line broadband services;
(f) By devising enabling provisions for sustainable development of public Wi-Fi hotspots;
(g) By facilitating content delivery networks for improved quality of experience;

G. Strategies to enable access for connecting to 10billion IoT/ M2M sensors/ devices:

(a) By prescribing licensing and regulatory framework for IoT/ M2M service providers;
(b) By earmarking of suitable licensedand unlicensed spectrum for IoT/ M2M services;
(c) By creating appropriate institutions for coordinated development of 5G services, IoT/ M2M systems, and their security framework;
(d) By closely working with sector specific industry councils for preparing roadmap for transformation of each sector to Industry 4.0; H.Strategies to establish India as a global hub for data communication systems and services:
(a) By prescribing licensing and regulatory framework for cloud service providers;
(b) By declaring data privacy, protection,and security laws;
(c) By prescribing policy for cross-border data transfer;(d)By enacting net-neutrality laws;
(e) By incentivizing setting up of International Data Centers (IDCs) in India;
(f) Internationally comparable bandwidth capacity and costs for businesses to encourage Data Centre localization in India;
(g) By facilitating establishment of interconnect exchanges for data services;
(h) By expeditious availability of land, electricity,and security for data centers;
(i) Human capital for data analytics and product development;

I. Strategies to become net positive in international trade of telecommunication systems and services:

(a) By facilitating set-up of ‘Special Technology Zones (STZs)’ for experimental products to invite product and technology innovation and development in India;
(b) By allocation of spectrum for demonstration and experimental purpose on expeditious basis;
(c) By establishing Telecom Research and Development Center for identification, customization, and development of digital products and services in the country to substitute imports;
(d) By facilitating development of required infrastructure for research and development, incubation centres, standardization, testing, and certification of digital communication systems, products and services;
(e) By earmarking 40% of incremental USOF for financing R&D, Innovation, and development of communication systems and services as per indigenous needs;
(f) By providing financial incentives for the development of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) in the field of telecommunication services and systems;
(g) By encouraging partnership between industry and academia for development of human capital;
(h) By incentivising local manufacturing of network equipment and devices;
(i) By becoming global hub for remote management of telecommunication networks;
(j) By coordinating with EXIM Bank and Telecom Export Promotion Council (TEPC) to facilitate international trade of telecommunication systems and services;
(k) By makingTEC and TSDSI responsible for development and enforcement of standards for telecom products and services;
(l) By developingown test labs and certification infrastructure;
(m) By upgrading the manufacturing PSUs under DoT to actively exploit their strategic and operational synergies