New telecom policy to be application driven: Manoj Sinha

The policy will focus on Internet for all, telecom connectivity for all, universal connectivity and technologies like 5G and Internet of things

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Pratap Vikram Singh | July 12, 2017 | New Delhi


#Aruna Sundararajan   #Manoj Sinha   #National Telecom Policy  


The ministry of communications is working on a new application-driven telecom policy as opposed to the National Telecom Policy (NTP), 2012 which was connectivity driven, said minister Manoj Sinha. 
 
Speaking at a seminar titled ‘ICT: engendering new governance structure’, he said that the new policy should focus on end users and should look for opportunities for expanding the availability of telecom services.
 
The new NTP will include Internet for all, telecom connectivity for all, universal connectivity and technologies like 5G and Internet of things, which will form basis for a new digital India and skill development said telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan, also present at the event. 
 
“We are commencing work. We will be forming working groups and then we will also be setting up these committees which will work on the new policy," she said.
 
On the alleged data breach at Reliance Jio, she said the company is still investigating the case. “As the telecom industry grows, security is more important. We need to have a dedicated organisation to look at security, standards for security and the emergency response mechanism in case of a cyberattack," she said.
 
Key points from Sinha and Sundararajan’s speech at the event are:
 
  • For the first time, the ministry has decided to involve a large pool of experts from outside the department to get inputs from citizens and stakeholders for the new policy. The department will also be in touch with TRAI for policy inputs.
  • Under the new NTP, the department will focus on getting more telecom investment for upgrading the telecom networks. 
  • As of April 2017, India has close to 1.2 billion telephone connections, including 1.17 billion wireless telephone connections. 
  • India has 276.52 million broadband connections. There is a six-fold increase in data traffic from 561 million GB in the first quarter to 2,988 million GB in the third quarter of 2016-17, a 400% jump.
  • The optical fibre cable has reached one lakh villages. Telecom equipment has reached 70,000 panchayats. 
  • While service providers are rapidly deploying 4G technology, the ministry will focus on two aspects – expand connectivity to all parts including the north-east and the Left-wing extremist areas and, ensure that India plays a key role in standards development and gets a healthy share of the innovations and patents in the 5G technology pool.
  • The FDI equity inflow in telecom sector from April, 2016 to March, 2017, was US $5,564 million, which is more than four times the average inflow of about 1.3 billion dollars every year since 2013-14.
  • Telecom department has announced the ‘Central Equipment Identity Register’ which paves the way for setting up of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) based device registration and authentication that will settle the cases of mobile phone theft. 
  • The department will soon set a sectoral Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) for telecom. 
  • The department is considering the TRAI recommendations on addressing telecom consumer grievances. 
 

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