Telecom Secretary J S Deepak said that his department will start working on a new telecom policy from 2017 with focus on the growth of the sector as well as to meet requirements of next generation technologies.
Participating in the Indian Telecom 2016 event organised jointly by Department of Telecom and FICCI here, he said that the government will start working on the new policy in April 2017, which would actually be 25 years of commencement of wireless revolution in this country.
However, he also said that before commencing work on the new policy, the DOT has to implement all the reforms announced in 2012 policy and that most of the features will be executed by March.
The Department of Telecom had came out with a new telecom policy in 2012, where the government had announced a number of reforms in the sector including spectrum trading and sharing, nation-wide number portability and allocation of more spectrum.
The secretary also announced that the government has notified abolition of wireless operating licence, a move that would facilitate ease of doing business.
So far, telecom service providers are required to obtain a separate licence for installing and operating base stations as also other wireless equipment, which is already covered as part of their main licences like the Unified Access Service Licence.
Hence, the move to do away with a separate wireless operating licence reduces the hassles for telecom operators.
“The Wireless Advisor office is working with determination in making SACFA (permit for installing towers) automated end-to-end,” he said. Though telecom operators contribute about Rs 5,000 crore in a year in Universal Services Obligation Fund — meant for expansion of telecom services in rural areas, average annual expenditure has been about Rs 3,000 crore.
“This year in 2016-17, compared with Rs 1,200 crore expenditure from USOF last year, we hope to bring that expenditure to Rs 12,000 crore,” Deepak said.