The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paper to broker telecom peace

New Delhi, Nov. 15: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today issued a preliminary consultation paper on the unified licensing regime. The paper aims to end all disputes among operators and stop them from seeking compensations on the plea that one service has encroached upon another due to changing technology.

A final draft will prepared taking into account responses from operators and based on this the final consultation paper will be made. The regulator will then hold open houses all over the country and put forward its recommendations to the government.

“We will receive suggestions till December 7 and prepare a final consultation paper by December-end. We may have left out many issues that the stakeholders would like to discuss and those can be incorporated in the final consultation paper. Everyone concerned with the issue can participate,” said Trai member D.P.S. Seth.

The preliminary consultation paper seeks comments from all stakeholders on the services that should be covered by the unified licence, registration charges, entry fee to be paid by the new and existing operators, service area and rollout service obligations.

The first draft will also examine the issue of licence fee and the cases of existing service providers, especially those operators who offer only one telecom service like an internet service provider or a cable operator.

Issues like interconnection with various services and the basic fixed-line telephone issues will be discussed. The preliminary consultation paper will also discuss the controversial numbering issue.

“Technology is changing fast these days. But we are still in a service specific regime which we should abandon and adopt a unified licnecing for all telecom services,” said a senior Trai official.

“This will also ensure that the consumers have access to the best and more cost-viable technology at all times and the government is not answerable to claims from operators due to changes in technology,” he added.

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