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DoT To Look Into Relief Package For Telecom Providers

The Telecom Ministry will look into the relief package for the industry players, said a top official here on Wednesday. The move comes after Vodofone Idea Ltd, the largest telecom player in the country, made an informal representation to the ministry.

This comes at a time when the government is considering relief packages after few companies including Vodafone Idea approached the government for the same. The sector’s debt is estimated to be around 4.6 lakh crore and operators have seen their margins narrow due to the stiff competition in the market.

The ministry is also rolling out several initiatives such as 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots and National Digital Communication Policy that is tabled in the Cabinet. Speaking at the Rural Telecom Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom, said, “The USOF tenders for Wi-Fi hotspots, we are in the final stages of selecting the partner and it will done in couple of weeks.” Sundararajan said the project will start in December 2019 and will be rolled in health care centres and police departments.

To take the digital infrastructure to rural pockets, the government had rolled out BharatNet at an investment of Rs 45,000 crore, a huge opportunity for the industry players. The plan is to have 12 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots in the next two years. But for these initiatives to come to a fruitation, the centre, State and industry needs to work together and ensure that all areas are covered, Sundarajan said. – BusinessLine

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