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National Digital Communications Policy 2018

National Digital Communications Policy 2018

Why Part of D.N.A. - The Department of Telecom released the New Telecom Policy for the next five years with two main targets that are almost similar to the already ongoing Bharat Net broadband project and rationalisation of specturm charges and other unspecified levies.

The main focus of the policy -  To attract investments of $100 billion in the digital communications sector.

-        It also talks of expanding IoT ecosystem to 5 billion connected devices and accelerate transition to Industry 4.0.

-       The draft proposes reforming the licencing and regulatory regime to catalyse investments and promote ‘Ease of Doing Business’ by reviewing levies and fees including license fee, universal service obligation fund or USOF levy and concept of pass through revenues in line with principles of input line credit.

-       Provisioning of broadband for all and creating 4 million additional jobs in the digital communications sector.

-       The other targets are enhancing the contribution of digital communications sector to 8 per cent and propelling India to the Top 50 nations in the ICT development index of ITU from 134 in 2017.

Licensing reforms -In particular,spectrum usage charges may now only reflect administrative costs.

Clearances & approvals - Arduous processes, along with bureaucratic red tape in cases of obtaining right of way permissions, have been a long-standing concern.

-       At present, even though online processes exist, they require submission of hard copies subsequently. These long-drawn procedures often dissuade foreign investment

Scope FoR infra providers -Infrastructure providers or IP-1 could not own and share active equipment, but also only install certain active equipment on behalf of telecom service providers or TSPs, DoT now advocates for enlarging the scope of infrastructure providers by allowing them to share active infrastructure.

Foreign investment

-       Foreign players have traditionally been circumspect to enter the Indian telecom market due to cumbersome compliance obligations and capital requirements. The policy indicates that these may be relaxed to some extent. 

Cloud computing

-       The DoT has echoed the views provided by TRAI in its recommendations as far as adopting a light touch regulatory approach with respect to cloud-based systems is concerned.

 

Hurdles :

-       Cash-strapped industry is currently finding it difficult to invest more than $10 billion a year, the policy talks of attracting $100 billion in another four years, a bit off the mark.

-       Other goals, like 50 per cent of households have access to fixed-line broadband, sound good but serve no real purpose since delivering data on mobile has proven to be far more successful. 

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