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|February 19, 1999||
The ISP policy has finally been announced. There are many questions that have come up since and the most important among them is who can become an ISP and how.
Any Indian company registered under the Indian Companies Act can become an Internet Service Provider.
Foreign equity up to a maximum of 49 per cent is permitted.
The entire service area has been divided into three categories: 'A', 'B' and 'C'.
ISP's that would like to operate at a national level will have to apply for a category 'A' license.
The category 'B' license will cover the four major cities and metros of the country in addition to 20 telecom circles.
Category 'C' will include the smaller areas.
There is no limit on the number of players in an area and a company can apply for as many licences as it wishes to.
The application form costs Rs 1,000. The processing fee is Rs 5,000. And the license would be valid for 15 years. It would be free for the first 5 years and then would cost Re 1 for the subsequent 10 years.
The prospective Internet service provider would have to furnish bank guarantees at the time of applying for licenses.
An ISP applying for category 'A' license will have to give a bank guarantee of Rs 20 million. A category 'B' applicant needs to give a bank guarantee of Rs 2 million and a category 'C' applicant needs one for Rs 300,000.
Private ISPs can establish their own international gateway after obtaining security clearances. They also have the option to use the Department of Telecommunications or Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited's gateways.
ISPs can also interconnect among themselves and provide services to VSAT sub-stations.
ISPs can use different sources for transmission links:
It is likely that many of the operators who were providing only email services earlier would turn into full-fledged ISPs.
There would be some restrictions on the ISPs themselves. Internet telephony would not be permitted. The ISPs would have to maintain detailed logs and ensure that there is no flow of obscene, objectionable and unauthorised material.
Though ISPs are free to fix their own tariff, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India would take the final decision on tariffs.
Last-mile linkage for ISPs is freely permitted within the local area by either fibre or radio. The term 'quality of service' has yet to be decided on.
The ISPs would have to get interface equipment connected to the DoT network cleared by DoT before actually using the equipment.
If ISPs want to employ foreign personnel in any capacity, those employees would require security clearances.
In case of any disputes the chairman of the Telecom Commission will appoint an arbitrator as per the Arbitration Act of 1996.
The Internet dialling codes are
172 1XX - for all-India ISP (Category A).
172 2XX - for circle/metro ISP (Category B).
172 3XX - for SSA ISP (Category C).
The XX stands for anything between 00 to 99.
Companies that have been issued category 'A' ISP licences...
Companies that have been issued category 'B' ISP licence...
Companies that have been issued category 'C' ISP licence...
To build the 'National Internet Backbone' we have proposed some locations that could be Internet stations.
Type 'A' location
Nodes that would have international gateway are
Internet stations that would be without international gateway.
Type 'B' Locations
The proposed connectivity for the National Internet Backbone is illustrated below:
There would be six nodes that would provide international gateways. The nodes will be inter linked using 8 MBPS connectivity. The six proposed nodes are to be at Bombay, Calcutta, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune and Madras.
There would also be smaller nodes that would not have international gateways and would be linked to any two of the six main nodes with 2 MBPS connectivity.
Sub-nodes would also be created that would link to only one of the smaller nodes.
The nodes are graded into three zones for security reasons: Open zone, demilitarised zone and secured zone.
The open zone would be the zone that would allow access to all users.
Only subscribers would be allowed access to the demilitarised zone.
The secured zone would be accessible only to the system administrators.
N Parmeshwaran is the deputy director general at the Department of Telecommunications. He is in charge issuing ISP licenses.
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