Business

Internet service rates may go up under licence framework


New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI): Industry body ISPAI on Sunday said that rates of internet and broadband services may go up under new licenses framework due to high entry fee proposed by Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

DoT has proposed to charge one-time entry of Rs 15 crore for a national level Unified Licence compared to Rs 30 lakh which companies pay for internet services at present.

"DoT has not done anything new as per the proposed format for Unified Licence regime. They are going ahead with option to continue the old licence format along with a new national level Unified Licence (UL) that will cost Rs 15 crore.

"If internet service providers opt for UL, then cost of internet and broadband services will go up," Internet Service Provider Association of India's (ISPAI) President Rajesh Charia told PTI.

In the new licencing regime, DoT should allow internet telephony which would lead to low cost call service that would benefit even rural area the country where illiteracy is very high.

"VoIP is widely accepted application. Foreign companies who are not registered with DoT are providing voice calling service both between Computer to Computer and Computer to landlines.

"They don't even have licences. We pay annual charges to DoT and should be allowed to provide voice services across networks," he said.

A DoT internal committee has recommended to allow ISPs with wireless broadband spectrum (BWA) to provide voice telephony service using these airwaves. In 2010, six private players including Reliance Jio Infocom, formerly Infotel Broadband, Tikona Digital and Augere had won BWA spectrum.

The committee has left it for higher authorities to decide if players who won BWA spectrum in 2010 should be asked to make additional payment of Rs 1,658 crore which was charged from telecom players till 2008 for providing mobile telephony.

The licence issued to mobile telephony operators for Rs 1,658 crore had 4.4 Mhz spectrum bundled with it but government has announced to provide no spectrum with UL.

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