Indian Business Lobby Offers Recommendations for Broadband Improvements
Published on: 1st Jan 1970: 1:33am
India's Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has submitted five recommendations on telecom & broadband developments to the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Mr A Raja.
The five point agenda included roadmap for the accelerating growth of broadband in India to reach 695 million users by 2014, including 309 million in rural India. The CII has also recommended providing autonomy to USO Fund administrator for creation of broadband infrastructure for use of all and to strengthen the infrastructure using funds from the Universal Services Obligation (USO) fund. CII emphasized that the USO body should be given responsibility of laying down high speed backhaul via Fiber To The Kerb (FTTK) infrastructure across the country and provide a single-window clearance and lower the taxes for towers and digging.
"Broadband connectivity will considerably enhance the quality of life with useful and critical applications such as e-governance, e-education and e-health and accordingly, Government should complete its 27 NeGP mission mode projects in a phased and time-bound manner", the CII representation said.
CII also suggested the growth of Wireless Broadband through 3G & BWA and recommended planned auctions of 3G and BWA spectrum as per already notified guidelines to be completed expeditiously so as to roll out these services by mid 2010. CII further said that "Maximum possible spectrum should be allotted in 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz bands."
CII suggested that "Telecom Infrastructure needs to be developed as priority for rural reach and to achieve same, Government needs to address issues related to Tower construction approvals, tower sharing and standardization, providing backhaul for broadband connectivity to all villages, electricity power to be made adequately available at reasonable price, and Pragmatic approach for collection & usage of USO Fund, with a sun-set clause over the next 3 years".
CII has recommended that electricity board connection should be made available as public utility connection in urban/semi urban areas and at agriculture rate (or at least at par with IT industry) in rural areas. Also, unless reliable power condition is reached it is suggested that support/ incentives on use of renewable energy is provided.
CII has recommended that Rationalization of Taxation & Levies is must for affordable tele services as the taxes and levies paid by the Indian telecom sector in the form of license fee, spectrum charges, ADC, service tax etc. are the highest when compared to other Asian economies and amounts to 24%-34% of the AGR. CII has requested for reduction in two phases: phase I - 22% and Phase II - 13-15% . Another recommendation on taxes is for a single central tax and another single state level tax, which can be later merged into one tax as a percentage of the AGR.
CII also presented the Spectrum Roadmap for 1 billion wireless users in India by 2014-15. To achieve same, CII recommended that for affordable mobile telecom services, there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive spectrum policy with short term, medium and long term plans for refarming of required frequency bands.
CII also discussed during the meeting with Minister that there is a big potential in India for telecom manufacturing and creation of own IT & technologies and Govt needs to provide thrust.