28 October, 2020

Static On The Line Again

Basic telecom privatisation suffers a setback as DoT slaps high interconnection charges

Static On The Line Again
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

THE telecom privatisation process is grounded again. And with it the hope of a telephone on demand by April 1997, envisaged by the National Telecom Policy, has receded to the realm of wishful thinking. 

This time around, telecom companies and the Communications Ministry are squabbling over interconnection charges proposed by the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) to link private basic services operators' switches to DOT's network. The interconnection charges were contained in a draft licence agreement released in July, consequent to the letters of intent (LOI) issued by the department for 10 circles in March. Private operators say the annual burden of interconnection charges works out to between Rs 9 crore and Rs 14 crore.

 "These charges are the last straw on the camel's back," says P. K. Sandell, president, Telecom Industry Services Association. "It will extend the breakeven period for tele-com companies from eight to nine years to as much as 10 to 13 years," he feels. Says Confederation of...

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