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TRAI exploring license fee exemptions and subsidies to subscribers to increase fixed-line broadband connections

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is exploring incentives it can provide to increase fixed-line broadband connections in the country including exempting internet service providers from license fees and giving customers direct cash benefits, the regulatory body said in a supplementary consultation paper published on Wednesday. Relevant stakeholders are requested to submit their comments to TRAI by 03.06.2021 and counter-comments by 10.06.2021. Comments should be emailed to Shri Sunil Kumar Singhal, Advisor (Broadband and Policy Analysis), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the e-mail id advbbpa@trai.gov.in with a copy to ja3-nsl@trai.gov.in Context: In August 2020, TRAI had published a consultation paper titled Roadmap to Promote Broadband Connectivity and Enhanced Broadband Speed, which covered a wide range of issues plaguing broadband penetration in India including changing the definition of broadband, a system for measuring speed and latency, right of way to install infrastructure, and much more. You can read the paper in its entirety here or our summary here. Following consultation, one of the recommendations put forth by TRAI to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was to exempt license fee on the revenues earned on fixed-line broadband for at least 5 years. DoT wrote back asking TRAI to consider if this will be misused by internet providers and if direct benefits to consumers can help TRAI better achieve its goals. Why increase fixed-line broadband connections? Higher reliability, higher speed, lower latency, symmetric download and upload speeds, and low cost per GB of data consumption compared to wireless networks are some of the benefits of fixed-line connections…

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