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VoIP it into place

Telecommunications has, arguably, been the most spectacular of all of India?s recent achievements.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 01:54 IST

Telecommunications has, arguably, been the most spectacular of all of India’s recent achievements. There is every indication that 2006, too, will see dramatic changes with telephony reaching more, and poorer, Indians. The country wants to be connected via telephone at the cheapest rate, whether it be landline, cellular or via the computer. This calls for effective management of the sector in the coming year. All the telecom players must realise that 2007 teledensity goals can actually not just be a pipe-dream, provided needless bickering and politicking are kept out, and transparency, speed and clarity of direction drive the way forward. While easing of regulations and integration of technology have been milestones in 2005, the inability of telecom players and the government to converge on the telecom policy was a setback. But hopefully, this year should see a robust policy in place.

This hope rides on promises, such as that of a single call rate for the entire country, as well as on extended use of technologies like the voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) that could revolutionise the business. This is currently the one technology that can connect remote areas. For cities, landlines remain the back-up when cellular services jam, in spite of soothsayers forecasting its death. But, clearly, VoIP is the cheapest technology today and the dream solution to effect rural teledensity, as a first step.

Although the ministry’s move towards unified licensing and use of VoIP are positive steps, there are still limitations to its use within the country. This is not a matter of getting confused by technology, but of allowing red tape to tie down the use of technology. This should be set free so that users, telecom players and the government itself can benefit. The need of the day is for one rate, one policy and more importantly, one clear voice. And the question of the day is: can the regulators, government and the industry deliver?

First Published: Jan 02, 2006 01:54 IST