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|October 22, 1997||
Drip feedThe cabinet has cleared the Internet policy, throwing open the services to private Internet service providers, Department of Telecommunications Secretary A V Gokak has announced. But key issues of bandwidth allocation and direct connectivity abroad still remain unresolved.
Gokak said the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Investment has exempted ISPs from licence fee for the first five years as against the earlier proposal of a two-year waiver.
The allocation of the bandwidth, an important factor of the scheme, will be done by the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, based on guidelines to be issued by DoT.
"The DoT will play an important role in seeing that new entrants get the bandwidth without delay," he assured.
Interconnections between service providers and the proposal to allow Internet traffic through VSATs have been permitted.
The VSNL will continue to provide services from the existing centres. The international carrier's further expansion will be referred to an implementation committee which will be chaired by the DoT chief himself.
The cabinet has also permitted software technology parks to set up new earth stations as gateways for the Internet and high-speed data connectivity. The duty will also be extended to VSNL's software technology parks.
The cabinet secretary has been asked to look into the important aspects of the policy against which reservation has been expressed by the security agencies.
These includes the recommendation for direct connectivity abroad for the STPs and the creation of new capacity by the ISPs which might interfere with the government's policy of long-distance traffic.
The decision on using the capacity of the power and railways departments for the national infrastructure backbone also needs to be looked into from the legal standpoint.
Lastly, while the Jalan Committee has recommended that there be no ceiling on charges by the ISPs, the DoT and the VSNL, which will fix its own rates, has suggested that a ceiling be prescribed.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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