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Panel to Finalise New Telecom Policy, Discuss Net Neutrality Issue Today

The Telecom Commission is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss and finalise the new telecom policy. Apart from that, the commission, which is the highest decision making body of the department of telecommunications (DoT), is likely to consider the issue of net neutrality as well as recommendations of TRAI on closure of services by telecom operators.

The DoT had released the draft of the new telecom policy, to be called the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018, in May. The draft has been in public domain since then and most of the stakeholders, including various individuals, have given their responses.

The policy aims to create four million jobs by 2022, attract $100 billion investment in the telecom sector and ensure broadband coverage at 50 mbps for every citizen. The draft also proposes to address the woes of the debt-ridden telecom sector by reviewing licence fees, spectrum usage charges and universal service obligation fund levy, all of which add to the cost of telecom services under the new policy for enhancing ease of doing business in the sector. The policy will require cabinet approval once the Telecom Commission finalises its view on the same.

The commission is also likely to discuss the issue of net neutrality. Sectoral regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last year had given recommendations on net neutrality by proposing unhindered access to content and services over the web.

TRAI had recommended barring telecom operators from imposing any restriction, like reducing net speed or blocking the access of any content or service available on the Internet, except in special cases like court orders and government directions.

TRAI had also given its recommendations on closure of services by telecom operators last year. The purpose of the recommendations was to ensure that subscribers do not feel undue hardship in case a operator decided to shut shop. – Business Standard

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