We are at the business end of April 2018 and still the government is yet to release the National Telecom Policy 2018. However, that’s going to change very soon as Aruna Sundararajan, Telecom Secretary and Chairman of the Telecom Commission today confirmed that the draft for the National Telecom Policy 2018 would be released on May 1, seeking public comments. “The direction of the new policy, that we hope you will see as early as on May 1, will be reform-oriented, it will be investor friendly and bring down the cost of compliances,” Sundararajan said while speaking at the Annual General Meeting of US industry body Amcham.
The government originally planned to release the NTP 2018 in March 2018, however, that didn’t happen. The draft of the NTP will be open for public comments for 15-20 days post the release. “It (NTP) will hopefully trigger innovation, will focus on Make in India and provide opportunities for partnering with a lit of companies,” Sundararjan said, as reported by Press Trust of India.
She further added, “After completion of public comments, the Department of Telecom will start inter-ministerial consultation on the policy and thereafter approach Cabinet for final approval.”
The National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2018 will set the mission and objectives to be completed by the end of 2022 in the Indian telecommunication sector. India would be celebrating its 75 years of independence in 2022. Trai, in the past, stated that it would be specifying the strategies as well in the NTP to accomplish the objectives in the telecom policy.
The objectives of the new policy include increasing rural teledensity to 100%, which as of February 2018 stands at 57.09% (wireless) and 0.38 (wireline). The overall rural teledensity is 57.47% including wireless and wireline. The NTP 2018 will also outline the process of enabling access for wireline broadband to 50% households and providing wireless broadband access at affordable rates to 90% population.
Furthermore, the government is looking to achieve 900 million broadband connections providing a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps. Also, the government is looking to set up 10 million public Wi-Fi hotspots in the next four years. 1 Gbps wired broadband connection is expected to be provided to all the gram panchayats. And other upcoming major technologies like 5G and IoT will also play a prominent role in the NTP 2018.