DoT lists new rules, security policy in agenda for new govt

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Introduction of new laws and norms, including the communication bill to replace century-old Indian Telegraph Act, security of networks, and infrastructure are among key issues the DoT has listed as priority areas for the new government.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has shared the list of top 10 priority areas for the sector with the Cabinet Secretary, official sources said.

The Cabinet Secretary has asked all the departments to keep a presentation ready for appraising the new Prime Minister of achievements as well as failures of the outgoing government and steps the departments would like to take in order to boost the growth, sources had said.

The DoT's list include introduction of Communication Bill that will replace over century old Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, as well as Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933, TRAI Act 1997, Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act 1995, IT Act 2000, official sources said.

An internal committee of DoT has already recommended providing telecom, cable and broadcasting services by a single company and paying for the services though a common bill.

However, these kinds of provisions will need a new set of regulation that can be introduced only through the new convergence bill, sources said.

Apart from this, DoT has listed six major incomplete projects, including Rs 20,000-crore National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project aimed to provide high speed broadband services across all 2.5 lakh panchayats in the country along with Wi-Fi services, that were started by the outgoing UPA government.

The Congress in its 2014 election manifesto had set 18-month target to complete the NOFN project. DoT, however, has set a deadline of September 2015 for completion of the project.

The department has said that there is a need to further amend telecom licences for faciltating growth.

"There is a need to separate network licensing from services licensing and ease barriers to entry and exit for telecom players. The new government should work on implementation of full Unified Licensing Regime," an official source said.

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