Broadband India Forum (BIF) has urged the government to implement the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018, which was notified around one-and-a-half years ago but is yet to be rolled out.

In the letter to the government, T V Ramachandran, President, BIF has highlighted that NDCP was approved in a cabinet meeting on September 26, 2018 that was chaired by our Prime Minister and was also Gazette-notified by October 31, 2018. “We understand that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) made about 48 Recommendations relating to telecoms/digicom in the 10 years between April 1, 2010 and March 15, 2020. We also verily believe that, of these, only about 17 have been partially or fully actioned. i.e. the total number yet to be decided upon are 31 in number. In effect, nearly 65 per cent of the recommendations are awaiting decision/action. We earnestly request, sir, your urgent kind intervention to have the recommendations actioned,” writes Ramachandran.

Some of the Key TRAI Recommendations and NDCP directives that could be very useful today to follow through implementation include inter alia,

  1. Optimum Spectrum pricing (NDCP)
  2. Proliferation of Broadband through promotion of Open Public Wi-Fi Networks. (TRAI)
  3. Rationalisation of statutory levies & taxes viz. LF, SUC, GST, Input Tax Credits, etc.
  4. Enhancement of Scope of IP1 Registration to include Sharing of Active & Passive Infrastructure
  5. Opening up of E & V bands
  6. Enhancement of Revised Terms & Conditions for OSPs
  7. Next generation PPDR Communication Networks (TRAI-Critical for effective Disaster Management)
  8. Redefining definition of Broadband Speed/ increasing Broadband speed (TRAI)
  9. Fiber First Initiative. Setting up of National Authority (NDCP)
  10. Rationalisation of RoW Guidelines
  11. Creating accessibility of ICT to Person with Disabilities (PwD) (TRAI)
  12. Recommendations on Ease of Doing Telecom Business (TRAI)
  13. Actions for securing USD 100bn investment in the Digital Communication sector (NDCP).

The above list is only illustrative and by no means exhaustive

Further, BIF added “Telecom/Digital services are one of the most powerful tools to mitigate the socio-economic adverse effects of Covid-19. The powerful arsenal is available to us courtesy Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) NDCP 2018 and TRAI Recommendations thereof. With many new work and social distancing norms being now set and work from home being adopted as the new normal, it requires major transformation in the Digital Infrastructure accompanied by major shift of assets from hitherto dense CBDs to far flung residential areas and buildings.”

BIF requested to expeditiously implement already-decided government actions in order to and spur the nation to the next wave of digital transformation and added that this can be done no better than by implementing NDCP 2018. “The entire digital communications sector is eagerly awaiting the implementation of this great policy which was announced in October 2018,” Ramachandran said.

Further, BIF has also sought for an online meeting with the government for the committee.