The salient features of the National Telecom Policy-2012 are as follows:
The policy envisions providing secure, reliable, affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere for an accelerated inclusive socio-economic development. The main thrust of the Policy is on the multiplier effect and transformational impact of such services on the overall economy. The thrust areas of NTP - 2012 are;
- Licensing: Presently, as per the 2003 Amendment to the 1999 Telecom Policy, there are two forms of licences – Unified Service Licence (to provide any telegraph service in various geographical areas) and Unified Access Service Licence (to provide basic and cellular services in defined service areas). The new policy targets simplification of licensing framework by establishing a unified license for all telecom services and conversion to a single-license system for the entire country. It also seeks to remove roaming charges.
- Spectrum: As of now spectrum bands are reserved on the basis of technology that may be used to exploit them. For instance, the 900 and 1800 bands are reserved for GSM technology and 800 for use of CDMA technology. The new policy seeks to liberalise spectrum. Further, spectrum would be de-linked from all future licenses. Spectrum would be reframed so that it is available to be used for new technology. The policy aims to move to a system where spectrum can be pooled, shared and traded. Periodic audits of spectrum usage would be conducted to ensure efficient utilization of spectrum. The policy aims at making 300 MHz of additional spectrum available for mobile telecom services by the year 2017 and another 200 MHz by 2020.
- Connectivity: The policy aims to increase rural tele-density from the current level of approximately 39% to 70% by 2017, and 100% by 2020. It seeks to provide 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600 million by 2020 at a minimum 2 Mbps download speed. Higher download speeds of 100 Mbps would be made available on demand. Broadband access to all village panchayats would be made available by 2014 and to all villages by 2020. The policy aims to recognise telecom, including broadband connectivity, as a basic necessity like education and health, and work towards the ‘Right to Broadband’.
- Promotion of domestic industry: The policy seeks to incentivise and give preference to domestic telecom products in procurements that (i) have security implications for India; or (ii) are for the government’s own use. It also seeks to establish a Telecom Finance Corporation to mobilise and channelise finances for telecom projects.
- Legislations: The policy seeks to review the TRAI Act to remove impediments to effective functioning of TRAI. It also seeks to review the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. The need to review the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 was also recognised in the 1999 Telecom Policy.
• Increase rural teledensity from the current level of around 39 to 70 by the year 2017 and 100 by the year 2020
• Repositioning of Mobile phone- as an instrument of empowerment
• Broadband –“'Broadband For All” at a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps
• Domestic Manufacturing- Making India a global hub
• Convergence of Network, Services and Devices
• Liberalisation of Spectrum- any Service in any Technology
• Simplification of Licensing regime- Unified Licensing, delinking of Spectrum from License, Online real time submission and processing
• Consumer Focus - Achieve One Nation - Full Mobile Number Portability and work towards One Nation - Free Roaming
• Resale of Services
• Voice over Internet Protocol
• Cloud Computing, Next Generation Network including IPV6