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July 31, 1997


The Biz Quiz

Government invites industry to discuss new Internet policy

The government has agreed to consider the suggestions of the industry on the new Internet policy and licence conditions before making a formal announcement.

The Department of Telecommunications has invited the industry to provide inputs for policy formation and firming up other related conditions, it is learnt.

The decision was taken on the request of the industry made in a recent meeting of Internet and email service providers with senior DoT officials.

DoT recently requested private companies which have already shown their interest in Internet and email business to come back with their ideas and suggestions before the end of next month.

The meeting was held to discuss the issues related to privatisation of Internet services in the country. The department, which is on an advance stage of finalising the Internet policy, is also evaluating the Internet service providers' agreements in other countries before giving a final shape to its own terms and conditions, sources revealed.

Besides other technical issues, the industry associations have conveyed to the government that content protection is a key issue of concern and a proper legislation should soon be in place to deal the problem.

The industry also demanded that universal service obligations should also be kept in mind to make the policy successful. The international quality and reasonable pricing are also important.

A meeting of the companies which are either involved in Internet and email businesses or are planning to enter this field is also being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry early next week to discuss industry related issues.

According to sources, the new policy proposes that Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited will stop being an Internet service provider and in turn will transfer its business to DoT.

However, it will help DoT to augment the infrastructure capacity to take care of future growth.

DoT has recommended in the policy that a nationwide Internet network should be set up by the government. It is also proposed that no licence fee should be charged from private operators for the first two years.

The policy also restricts the private operators to operate only through international gateways of VSNL which will come up for renewal every year.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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