Delhi: The government has pushed out the draft of a new telecom policy — ‘National Digital Communications Policy 2018’ — with an aim to create 40 lakh new jobs by 2022, attract $100 billion in investments into the sector and ensure broadband speeds of 50 mbps for every citizen.
The draft also proposes to address woes of the debt-ridden telecom sector by reviewing licence fees, spectrum usage charges, universal service obligation fund levy — all of which add to cost of telecom services — under the new policy for enhancing ease of doing business in the sector.
The National Digital Communications Policy’s draft said it aims to accomplish provisioning of broadband for all, creating 40 lakh additional jobs in the digital communications sector and enhancing the contribution of the digital communications space to eight percent of India’s GDP from about six percent in 2017. Under the new policy, the government aims to enable fixed line broadband access to 50 percent of households and start landline portability services.
The policy suggests providing universal broadband coverage at 50 mbps to every citizen and providing 1 gbps (gigabit per second) connectivity to all gram panchayats of India by 2020 and 10 gbps by 2022. It proposes to adopt “Optimal Pricing of Spectrum” to ensure sustainable and affordable access to digital communications.
The draft policy also proposes recognising of mid-band spectrum, particularly the 3 GHz to 24 GHz range, for next-generation networks. It also outlined a roadmap for high in demand backhaul spectrum for transmitting signals between mobile towers in E and V band as per international best practices.
“Promoting the effective utilisation of high capacity backhaul E-band (71-76/81-86 GHz) and V-band (57-64 MHz) spectrum in line with international best practices ..Rationalizing annual royalty charges for microwave links for backhaul connectivity,” the draft of policy said.
To propel development of India with use of next generation technology through investment, the policy proposes goal to attract “investments of $100 billion in the digital communications sector” by 2022 with help of regulatory reforms.
“The policy recognises the importance of continued improvement in the regulatory framework for attracting investments and ensuring fair competition, to serve the needs of Indian citizens. Given the sector’s capital-intensive nature, the policy aims to attract long-term, high quality and sustainable investments,” it said.
Additionally, the policy aims to remove regulatory barriers and reduce the regulatory burden that hampers investments, innovation and consumer interest. The draft policy also proposed to rationalise taxes and levies on digital communications equipment, infrastructure and services.