Telecom sector hopes upcoming policy will provide breather

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New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Enhancing telecom and broadband penetration, simplifying licensing and regulations, efficient spectrum management, uniform telecom infrastructure and Right of Way (RoW) policies, lowering of existing levies and taxes are some of the key things recommended by the telecom industry for the upcoming New Telecom Policy 2018.

“With all this, however, increasing telecom network security, while minimising compliance and cost burden and ensuring privacy of citizens while enabling Digital Revolution in the country, is paramount. If the “digital India” dream is to be realised, telecommunications as a sector and technology democratisation as a tenet, cannot and should not be ignored,” said Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators’ Association of India.

“At this time, the industry is in a downward spiral. Cumulative debts amounting to Rs 4.6 lakh crore on revenues of under Rs 1.8 lakh crore are forcing the industry to question the long-term prospects and viability of the sector,” he said here on Tuesday.

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“Creating an enabling environment for technologies considered science fiction, just a few years ago – AI, AR, IoT, Smart city, smart homes, 5G so on and so forth. It will focus on simplifying the regulatory frameworks to aid in quality connectivity-for-all and easing the turf for ease of doing business, make way for foreign investments and strengthen the existing infrastructure.” Mathews added.

The sector is seeking resolution of a number of issues, including a single unified licence across the country where every service provider offering the same service must adhere to the same rules – One Nation One License for services and making available funds for communication infrastructure projects, on the same lines as that for road and rail networks.

Huge investments of over Rs 2-3 lakh crores over the next couple of years would be required for a fully connected and an empowered Digital India.

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“To achieve this goal, urgent support of the government and the private sector is necessary to improve the already deteriorating financial health of the sector,” he added.



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