GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
DEPARTMENT OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 2273
TO BE ANSWERED ON AUGUST 31, 2012
Affordable and Reliable Internet Access
2273. SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR:
Will the Minister of COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY be pleased to state:
(a) whether Government has increased cost of internet access for consumers;
(b) if so, the details thereof and the reasons therefor;
(c) the manner in which Government proposes to address the problems of low speed, high cost and unpredictability of internet and broadband connectivity; and
(d) whether such a decision would be against the key objectives of providing affordable and reliable broadband on demand for citizens as outlined in the National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP-2012)?
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS
AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
(SHRI MILIND DEORA)
(a) & (b) No Sir. The cost of accessing Internet is not fixed by the Government. The tariff for internet services is governed by the Telecom Tariff Order(s) issued by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India from time to time.
However, in order to implement the Unified Licence Fee regime, the Government has decided to levy a uniform-licence fee as 8% of "Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)" on all Internet Service Providers in phased manner, in two steps starting from 01.07.2012.
(c) & (d) The vision of National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012 is to provide secure, reliable, affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services, including internet and broadband services. NTP 2012 addresses various issues related to internet and broadband including issues related to speed, affordability and reliability.
One of the key objectives of NTP 2012 includes providing affordable and reliable broadband-on-demand by the year 2015.
NTP 2012 lays out different broad strategies for addressing such issues in order to meet the above mentioned objective including development of an ecosystem for broadband, laying Optical Fiber network initially up to the village panchayat level by funding from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), providing proper incentives for rural roll-out, encouraging Fiber To The Home (FTTH) with enabling policies and guidelines, establishing institutional framework to coordinate with different government departments/agencies for laying and upkeep of telecom cables including optical fiber cable for rapid expansion of Broadband.
The decision to implement the Uniform Licence Fee regime for various Telecom Service Providers was taken in the interest of ending arbitrage in the licence fee, ensuring simplicity and transparency, expanding licence fee base and ensuring a level playing field between different services, with due consideration of the revenue receipts of the Government and the growth of Telecom services in the country.