The government is working on a roadmap for making spectrum available over a specified time frame, bringing in more transparency for telecom operators in the country, as part of the new Telecom Policy 2011 and the Spectrum Act.
In a letter to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, telecom minister Kapil Sibal has said the Department of Telecom (DoT) recognises the need to introduce steps to make the telecom sector more transparent.
"The Department recognises the need to initiate measures to reduce information asymmetry in the spectrum market and increase certainty by indicating a roadmap for making spectrum available over a specified time horizon," the letter said.
Measures in the pipeline, such as NTP and the Spectrum Act, are expected to address this concern, the letter added.
"Spectrum allocation through a market-based mechanism is a rational and balanced approach for price discovery, subject to availability of adequate information on quantity over a specified time horizon," Sibal said.
Mukherjee had written to Sibal on August 20, seeking response of the DoT on several issues raised by the industrialists in general, as well as, in the telecom sector. Sibal also sought a meeting with the finance minister to discuss the progress made in their implementation.
As part of the NTP, the government has already proposed to give fresh licences and renew the old ones for 10 years instead of 20 years now. Sibal said that while transparency in allocation of telecom spectrum is needed, payment of high license fees is also a concern for telecom operators.
"...payment of high licence fees as in the recent auction of telecom spectrum has starved the mobile telephone operators of funds for future investments. In view of this, the licence fee for future allocation may be rationalised," the letter said.
On the broadband connectivity to each village, Sibal said the department has formulated a proposal for setting up a National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) to extend the existing optical fibre network up to 2.5 lakh village panchayats.
The proposal is shortly being submitted to the Cabinet for approval of the scheme. "The proposed network will also provide a platform for advanced communication techniques and facilities inclusive growth through applications like e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking and e-commerce," the letter said.