Decision on Trai’s pending proposals likely by March

The Department of Telecom (DoT) will consider pending recommendations of regulator Trai, including those on net neutrality, telecom ombudsman and internet telephony, by March 31.

This is the first serious attempt by the department to address a host of issues that have been awaiting clearance for many years now. Some of the recommendations given by Trai are more than a year old. DoT’s urgency comes as the department is gearing up to finalise the new telecom policy just around the new fiscal wherein new issues and challenges would crop up. DoT wants to focus on new issues in the new financial year.

“DoT will consider all Trai recommendations given till December 31 to take a decision on them before the end of current fiscal as per the minister Manoj Sinha's instructions. These recommendations will be brought to a stage of expediting them so that necessary actions can be taken. The department is considering all such proposals of Trai to take further action on them,” DoT special secretary N Sivasailam said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) recommendations include measures on ease of doing business, keeping internet open and free (net neutrality), creation of telecom ombudsman for complaint redressal, and internet telephony.

“The government is keen and the telecom minister and secretary have also put a timeline on consideration of Trai recommendations issued up to December 31, 2017 and we hope to address most or all of them by March. Trai proposals would be processed and placed before competent authorities for consideration within the stipulated timeline,” Sivasailam added.

Moreover, Trai is also expected to give its inputs for the new telecom policy by the end of this month. The telecom department is crafting the new policy in consultation with stakeholders and expecting to finalise it by March.

“Trai itself has made a presentation on what they consider to be their first list, and they have also asked us to wait for their formal consultation paper (on NTP) to conclude,” Sivasailam said.

Meanwhile, a report by Broadband India Forum highlighted three significant issues impacting India's indigenous mobile telephony and telecom equipment sector growth. It noted that mobile telephony growth in the country is largely being driven and dependent upon imports.

The report also highlighted that value added by manufacturers is relatively small mainly due to high dependence on imports.