Gujarat Plus - Gujarat on Web
Rediscover Gujrat .....Rediscover the Gujrati in You
Don't reverse telecom policy, CERC urges FM Sunday, April 29, 2001
AHMEDABAD: Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad, has called upon the Union government that it should not "reverse" its progressive telecom policy of making available the latest technological facilities on demand and at affordable prices to villages and the other remote areas.
In a letter to the Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, CERC disapproved of the moves to edge out basic operators or fixed-time service providers (FSPs) offering limited mobility through the Wireless in Local Loop (WiLL) technology.
The controversy in this regard, the consumer organisation said, has been created by vested interests to derail the progressive measures and policies, transparently framed by the government in 1999. The National Telecommunication Policy (NTP -99) stipulates that the benefits of the telecom technology should reach all villages and other remote areas, in the most effective and affordable manner.
This aspect of the policy could be achieved only with the use of wireless technology, it added. Praising the Union government for developing a policy framework which was a win-win situation for consumers, CERC said the present controversy followed the announcement of the spectrum allocation procedure on March 23, 2001.
With this, CERC said, circle cellular mobile service providers, or (CMSPs), suddenly find their inflated valuation reducing to realistic levels with the possibility of issuance of more and more FSP licences. "It brushed aside the CMSPs' stand that the entry fee for per MHz of spectrum paid is much higher than that levied for FSPs. A comparison of the fee rates reveals the position as otherwise," it stated.
CERC therefore urged the Union finance minister to see that the interest of consumers remained paramount, which also has been the core of the NTP-99.
The letter said under no circumstances the competition should be limited, artificial restrictions on the use of technology be imposed, and at all times, customers should receive quality service at affordable price.
The CERC letter to Sinha pointed out that contrary to the public perception that the government has been more favourable to CMSPs as against FSPs, there exists a level playing field in respect of levy of spectrum charges to both the wireless and wired operators.