This is part two of a two-part report covering TRAI’s recommendations for a new national telecom policy. (Read part one here)

In its recommendation for new national telecom policy, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also laid down pointers of strategies to improve connectivity across India, facilitating IoT and M2M services for use by industry and on consumer protection and other public interest uses such as disaster management.

Improving connectivity

The TRAI suggests the deployment of 2 million public WLAN including Wi-Fi hotspots in the country by 2020 and 5 million by 2022, backhaul connectivity on optical fibre for at least 60% base stations by 2022. For this, TRAI suggests:

  • Mandating telecom and cable installations in all commercial, residential and office spaces by amending National Building Code of India.
  • Provisions for underground telecom infrastructure in the Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules, 2016.
  • Facilitating development of Open Access Networks (OAN) to improve access and affordability of communication services.
  • Upgradation cable TV networks for delivery of converged broadcast and broadband services.
  • Framing uniform guidelines for installation of telecom towers in government premises.
  • Including telecommunication service assets in critical/emergency infrastructure category to avail uninterrupted and affordable energy.
  • Incentivising fixed-line broadband services.
  • Devising enabling provisions for sustainable development of public WLAN hotspots, their interoperability and sharing.
  • Allowing broadband connectivity services to moving platforms such as aircraft, vessels, and trains.

Becoming a leader in data services

Many internet and data communication dependent services are now delivered from few regional hubs across the world. TRAI suggests implementing enabling policies for setting up of data centres in order to make India a global hub for Data Centres and Internet-dependent services. “India’s commitment to net-neutrality principles and reliable international connectivity using submarine cables can help in attracting large investments in this area,” TRAI says. It also adds:

  • Setting up data privacy, protection, and security laws
  • Prescribing policy for cross-border data transfer
  • Enacting net-neutrality laws
  • Strengthening of cyber-security of communication systems and emergency response capabilities
  • Push for setting up of International Data Centres (IDCs) in India
  • Build human capital for data analytics and product development through partnership between industry and academia.
  • Earmarking 40% of incremental USOF for financing R&D, innovation, and development as per indigenous needs
  • Setting up of ‘Special Technology Zones’ (STZs) for experimental products to invite product and technology innovation and development in India
  • Reducing entry barriers for Start-ups in the sector
  • Incentives for local manufacturing of network equipment and devices

For IoT and M2M

The TRAI, in its recommendation, says that Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) services would fuel the Industry 4.0—the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It would be a much bigger transformation in the field of communication in comparison to fixed to mobile market transition. To facilitate this, TRAI speaks of a coordinated approach to the development of 5G services, IoT/ M2M systems, and their security framework. It suggests:

  • Coordinating with stakeholders relating to agriculture, smart cities, intelligent transport networks, multimodal logistics, smart electricity meter, consumer durables to develop a market for IoT/ M2M connectivity services.
  • Simplified licensing and regulatory framework for IoT/ M2M service provider.
  • New spectrum bands for Access and Backhaul segment for timely deployment and growth of 5G networks.

Public interest

  • Strengthening consumer grievance redressal mechanisms through awareness and protection.
  • Providing necessary spectrum for other government services such as metro and high-speed rails, Government radio networks, municipal services, forest and irrigation departments, flood control, etc.
  • Creating a disaster management cell for early restoration of telecom services during disasters.
  • A comprehensive policy for encouraging adoption of environment and safety standards for ICT.