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 Friday, January 06, 2006

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) runs public consultation on Issues relating to Convergence and Competition in Broadcasting and Telecommunications. Written comments on the issues raised may please be furnished to Secretary, TRAI by 30th January, 2006.

The consultation paper published on 2nd January 2006 is available here.

The mainr issues for consultation include:

1) Comprehensive Legal Framework

Keeping in view the various convergence related issues discussed in the Consultation paper and as a measure to facilitate competition and promote efficiency in operation of telecom services so as to facilitate growth in such services.
a) Whether there is a need for having a comprehensive legal framework to deal with various issues arising out of convergence of technologies and services? If so
b) Whether, the legal framework must be developed around the Communication Convergence Bill, 2001? If so.
c) Whether changes may be required in the Bill especially taking into account TRAIís unified licensing recommendations dated 13th January, 2005.
d) Whether regulation of carriage and content should be separated, as the skill sets required for the two are grossly different?

2) Unified Licensing

To ensure the compatibility of comprehensive legal frame work and the Unified Licensing Regime as recommended by the TRAI vide its recommendations dated 13th January 2005 and also after taking into account the subsequent developments should there be changes required in Unified Licensing ?

3) Spectrum related issues

Whether there should be flexibility in spectrum allocation to take full advantage of new services and new technologies for existing services that may evolve with time?

4) Rationalisation of Differential Custom Duty Regime

Whether changes should be made in customs duties as proposed by the Committee to promote effective competition amongst telecom and cable operators?

5) Restriction on use of Protocols

Whether call termination should be permitted on Customer Premise Equipments (CPEs) using any protocol recommended by ITU/IETF?

6) Institutional funding

Whether the Government should intercede with the banks and financial institutions to emphasize the importance of these projects in building up the countryís communication infrastructure and to provide funds to the cable industry wherever found commercially feasible?

7) FDI Limits

Whether there is a need to undertake a complete review of the FDI policy for the various sub sectors in telecommunications and broadcasting so that there is consistency in policy and a level playing field between competing technologies?

8) Right of Way

Right of Way to Cable operators providing digital services has already been recommended in TRAI recommendations dated 14th September 2005 on Digitalisation of Cable Television. Pending these amendments whether further action should be taken as proposed by the Committee?