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|September 4, 1998||
The Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited and the Department of Telecommunications today signed a memorandum of understanding for 1998-99.
The document outlines performance targets for VSNL and defines commitment levels for DoT. It also recognises projects of key importance for VSNL.
DoT Secretary and Telecom Commission Chairman Anil Kumar and VSNL Chairman and Managing Director Amitabh Kumar signed the MoU.
These include the $60 million SEA-ME-WE-3 cable system is a state-of-the-art digital submarine optical fibre system which will provide 10 GBPS per fibre connectivity to over 41 countries spread along Australia, the Far East, the Gulf and Europe.
VSNL has also committed to commission three new standards. An Earth station at Arvi, Halisahar and Korattur for serving video, data and voice applications in the western, eastern and southern regions, respectively.
As per the MoU targets, these are to be completed and commissioned by February 1999. A standard-B earth stations will also be commissioned at Hyderabad and Kanpur.
VSNL has committed to award contract for a highly advanced network management system by the end of the current year.
The network management system would manage the switching, transmission and services network of VSNL and provide flexibility in routing, billing and fault rectification.
In the MoU, VSNL has undertaken to provide a new Earth station for video uplinking aimed at serving television channels broadcasting from India in the northern region.
This additional video uplinking facility is being built at Dehra Dun and will be completed by March 1999 at an estimated cost of Rs 150 million.
In order to improve its services in Gujarat, VSNL has also committed to commission a gateway digital switch at Gandhinagar, which will be operational by December 1998, as per the MoU.
The commissioning of the Gandhinagar Earth station will increase the strength of the VSNL gateway switches to seven locations from the current six locations of New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Ernakulam and Jalandhar.
This will further increase to eight with the commissioning of the gateway at Kanpur in March 1999.
The MoU also commits the India government into giving assistance to VSNL and allowing the corporation freedom in wide ranging areas for flexibility in planning and operations.
The commitments made by government include the freedom given to VSNL to decide on the choice of transmission medium and to establish its own links for interconnecting its gateways and Earth stations.
According to the MoU, VSNL shall also have the freedom to provide any value-added service either on its own or in association with other parties after obtaining due licences.
VSNL will also have the freedom to provide local loop connectivity by installing its own wireless systems. DoT has also committed to provide VSNL links up to 2 MBPS between any customer locations on demand without approvals on a case-by-case basis.
In addition, DoT has committed to deal with various proposals from VSNL for joint ventures and project approvals expeditiously and within committed timeframes.
VSNL has also committed on traffic and service level guarantees to DoT for its core operations of international voice telephony including in the areas of success ratio of international telephone calls, network availability and customer satisfaction.
The MoU also states that the revenue sharing agreement signed last year would be implemented in letter and spirit by both VSNL and DoT in line with the terms and conditions of the agreement.
This is the eighth such annual MoU signed between DoT and VSNL and the fifth successive year in which VSNL's performance has been rated ''excellent'', the sources said.
Speaking on behalf of the Indian government, Anil Kumar appreciated VSNL's performance and the company's efforts towards meeting all targets set for the 1997-98 as per the MoU signed last year.
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