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New telecom bill to bring next wave of reforms on licensing

The department of telecommunications issued a consultation paper in July on the need for a new legal framework for governing the country’s telecom sector. (Photo: Mint)Premium
The department of telecommunications issued a consultation paper in July on the need for a new legal framework for governing the country’s telecom sector. (Photo: Mint)

  • Minister Vaishnaw said draft for consultation to be uploaded by end of next week
  • The minister said he will ask TRAI to issue a consultation paper on improving the quality of service by 3X-4X of what it is today

NEW DELHI : The government will bring in another wave of reforms focused on licensing conditions, even as it plans to introduce the draft bill for a new legal framework by end of next week.

“Telecom bill to be next step for telecom reforms, it will provide a legal backing to the right of way actions that we’ve done and will be doing. Draft for consultation by end of next week, to be uploaded," said Ashwini Vaishnaw, telecom and information technology minister, on Wednesday.

The department of telecommunications issued a consultation paper in July on the need for a new legal framework for governing the country’s telecom sector. The DoT had elicited responses and views from all stakeholders. “Telecom legal framework should be world class, it is going to be the fourth major reform. And after that we will be going for licence conditions reforms," he said at Digital Infrastructure Providers Association event.

He added that the waves of reforms were much thought out to give industry whatever it needs to grow and put the onus on telcos while demanding the telcos should focus on improving the quality of service by three to four notches. “I have given targets to field officers in telecom department, find out the quality-of-service in each village and pull up the telcos. They should increase quality of service significantly. It has to go both ways," he said. The minister held a separate meeting with field officers of all circles on Wednesday.

The minister added that he will ask the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to issue a consultation paper on improving the quality of service by 3X-4X of what it is today.

Vaishnaw further added that under the railway land lease policy, the Prime Minister also approved that for every crossing of railway line by fibre to be taken below the lines, the cost will be only 1,000, and approval for the same will be available via the Gati Shakti Sanchar portal which is mapped to the government’s Gati Shakti portal.“Approvals should be done within a week, direction given to railways," the minister added.

He further asked industry to come up with solutions to reduce power consumption and carbon footprint in towers, and find a more sustainable, green solutions, including using green hydrogen

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gulveen Aulakh

Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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