Nov 3, 1999|
'Big bang' telecom reforms on the anvil
The government is planning to unleash a three pronged strategy aimed at stimulating the growth of internet and e-commerce in India, strengthening the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and implementing changes in the Indian Telegraph Act.
The growth of internet and e-commerce related activities is being constrained by the telecom sector. This is mainly due to slower growth in fresh investments in the telecom sector and also the existence of monopolies. For example, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) currently has a monopoly on international voice telephony services and it was only recently that its monopoly on overseas data services was diluted. With the convergence of data and voice traffic it has become essential for the government to further dilute VSNL's monopolistic hold over international voice telephony services.
The decision to strengthen the telecom regulator, Trai, is necessary to step up the telecom infrastructure in the country and protect the interests of the consumers. Moreover, with various government agencies' (like the Department of Telecommunications) taking ad hoc measures from time to time, there exists a lot of confusion both in the minds of the service providers and also the consumers. The strengthening of the Trai will give it unchallenged decision making and implementation powers and this will help in stimulating the growth of the telecom sector.
The government's initiatives are timely and should be well accepted by both industry and consumers, as the move is aimed at stimulating the sunrise sectors of telecom and information technology.
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