IAFI comments on the new law are focused on a holistic approach which will provide a background and overview for the smooth understanding and implementation of a new law. Although the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 is quite versatile piece of Legislation. It has withstood the test of time (with only minor amendments) for more than 137 years. The definition of ‘Telegraph’ in this act is very broad & encompasses all means of telecommunication, even the futuristic Free Space Optics for communications.
Therefore, the first suggestion provided by IAFI was to create a clear picture on the title of the document since it is felt that the word ‘Telegraph’ is very old and does not represent the modern telecom paradigm, leading to the recommendation of an appropriate title as a “Indian Telecommunications Act” or a polished version of the same naming it as the “Digital Communications Act”. However, the word digital may exclude analogue communications or other future forms of communications, which may or may not be digital.
Moving further, IAFI has addressed crucial sections on the Need for licensing to attract more investments and implementation of innovative technologies in last mile networks Exemption from licensing of captive indoor/in campus wireless networks. The same is complimented by adding increased Frequency bands to for unlicensed indoor usage such as 6GHz WI-FI6e and V band Wi-Gig Ease of accessing Radio frequency spectrum with suitable strengthening of Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing (WPC), the spectrum management authority.
IAFI also strongly believes that there should be separate licenses for captive nonpublic LTE/5G networks as well as Public 5G/LTE networks for SDCA or even in smaller areas to support for licensing of private sector infrastructure in a big way to make broadband internet available in remote locations
The Broadband policy is to be at a forefront wherein all media (terrestrial and space) should be encouraged without any discrimination and with respective global practices in place Importance of Spectrum policy roadmap to be recognized within the framework. ITU harmonization, alignment with global practice as key tenets. Spectral efficiency that can be achieved in older/legacy bands could be recognized and quantified before further assignment Satellite/Space use of spectrum needs to be administratively assigned to satellite and space service operators as per global practice.
Since we are taking a holistic approach in nature, we also trust that the proposed new Act should be simple and details for specific activities/ aspects of different telecom services should be part of Rules which can be framed under the Act as it is much easier to amend the Rules, as compared to amending the Act. The New Law should therefore allow formation of Rules for various services/ aspects. The existing service rules should be amended along with the new law.