IT Taskforce

Information Technology Action Plan


Info - Infrastructure Drive

With a target of 30 percent of annual growth rate from the 1998 level of Fibre Optic backbone of 75,000 route kilometers, VSATs of aggregate capacity of over 300 Megabit Per Second, Satellite Transponders of aggregate capacity of more than 3000 Megahertz and in the corresponding 'last mile' Wireless Communication as well as Data Communication based value added services, the Data and Multimedia Info-Infrastructure Policies are liberalised as under:

(1) INTERNET access nodes will be opened by DoT and authorised ISPs at all District Headquarters and local charging areas by 26th January 2000. As an interim measure, and till nodes are provided in all local charging areas, access to nearest INTERNET access nodes will be on local call rates with effect from 15th August 1998. ISPs will be responsible for ensuring that this facility is not misused for telephone traffic.

(2) Voice & Data Communication is permitted for IT Software Development and IT Services on dedicated or leased circuits, but no telephone traffic is permitted. Surcharge on 64 Kbps and higher capacity circuits for voice-cum-data applications is withdrawn with effect from 15th August 1998.

(3) Doubling of the lease rental charged by DOT for high speed data circuits leased by Closed User Group (CUG), Licensees of Basic Service, Cellular Service and other Value Added Services and users shall be reduced to single normal lease rental charge.

(4) Requests made by public sector Software Technology Park (STPs) or Private Sector STPs or IT promotional organisations approved by the Government for release of bandwidth shall be acted upon by the VSNL by intimating INTELSAT within two weeks of receipt.

(5) Setting up of Central call centres by IT Service Providers shall be permitted for which DOT and other Basic telecom Service Providers will make available bandwidth.

(6) Intelligent Network (IN) Services including free phone and premium Service (e.g. 1-800 and 1-900) Services shall be introduced by DoT by 31 December 1998 in several cities over an Intelligent Network (IN) Platform.

(7) For setting up ISP Operations by companies, there shall be no license fee for first five years and after five years a nominal license fee of one rupee will be charged.

(8) The monopoly of the VSNL on International Gateway for INTERNET shall be withdrawn and authorised public/government organisations will be allowed to provide INTERNET Gateway access directly without going through VSNL Gateways. Private ISPs are allowed to provide such Gateways after obtaining Defence clearance. Suitable monitoring mechanisms will be put in place to take care of security considerations.

(9) The Railways, Defence, State Electricity Boards, National Power Grid Corporation as well as organisations like ONGC, GAIL and SAIL who have rights of way shall be allowed to host fibre optic backbone. These organisations shall be allowed to provide service to the public based on this backbone by having an interface with the existing or new public networks, but without necessarily having to go through DOT network.

(10) Networks such as NICNET, STPs, as well as private networks shall be allowed inter-connectivity without necessarily having to go through the DoT's INET network.

(11) Providing access to INTERNET through authorised Cable TV shall be permitted to any service provider without additional licensing.

(12) The 'last mile' linkages shall be freely permitted either by fibre optic or radio communication for IT application enterprises, IT promotional organisations and ISPs. In case of radio linkages, coordination by the Wireless Adviser will be observed to avoid frequency interference.

(13) The radio frequency band in the range of 2.4 - 2.483 GHz shall be open as 'public wireless' for any Government organisation or PSU or Private Sector Company to set up Spread Spectrum based non-interference type Wireless data/multimedia communication equipment subject to a maximum of 4 Watt EIRP; WPC will periodically issue a district-wise directory of two or three selected subbands of 10 MHz each for each of the districts on the criteria of least congestion and reserve these subbands maximally for the exclusive use of Spread Spectrum Communication as above. The use of the band will be on the basis of non-interference, non-protection and non-exclusiveness. Private sector, Public sector and Government operators shall bilaterally obtain Defence Clearance for location, the area covered and the frequency sub-band: The Private Sector Units will be required to obtain MHA clearance directly; The security agencies shall convey their decision within 30 days of application failing which the application would be deemed to have been cleared from the security angle; If cleared, the Private and Public Sector operators shall be required to obtain a registration and automatic license directly from WPC by producing the copies of security clearances; the Government operators will directly register with WPC; WPC will be empowered to monitor the violation of the above conditions and impose penalties on defaulters in three stages: Written warning, monetary penalty and debarring for two years. A Public Wireless Technical Audit Unit comprising a representative each from the Defence, DOT, NIC and from NASSCOM for the limited purpose of representing private user interests, shall monitor the implementation of the above policy

(14) Data communication requirements for Electronic Commerce(EC/EDI) shall be met by DoT in a liberal framework by assigning the highest priority under their priority classification if the EC/EDI requirement is certified by authorities in Government authorised by the Ministry of Commerce.

(15) Public TeleInfo Centres (PTIC) having multimedia capability specially ISDN Services, Remote Database Access, Government and Community Information systems, Market Information, Desk Top Videoconferencing, TeleInfo and INTERNET/Web Access Services shall be permitted and encouraged by the Government. DoT and other Basic Service Providers, Value Added Service Providers and authorised IT promotional organisations shall be permitted to promote these services on non-exclusive basis. No license fee will be charged for operating these services and the usual tariff, where applicable, will be payable by the PTIC Service providers/franchisees. Efforts will be made by DoT and other Service Providers to upgrade STD/ISD PCOs to convert them into these powerful PTICs for which ISDN or other digital facilities shall be provided on priority without necessarily having to make additional investment on this account.

(16) DOT shall take suitable action to delicense Multimedia services, including FAX, provided by PCOs.

(17) To enhance the pace of PC and INTERNET penetration in remote and far flung areas in the country, the Defence Services shall enable provisions of connectivity for ciivilian applications to their communication backbone.

(18) Existing Software Centres by themselves may not be able to fulfill the high targets now set for the IT industry by the year 2008. International experience has shown that hi-tech industries flourish essentially in the rural hinterland adjacent to cities with modern telecom and communication infrastructure and top class hi-tech educational/research institutions. India will promote such 'Hi-tech Habitats' in the rural hinterland adjacent to suitable cities. For this purpose suitable autonomous structures will be designed and progressive regulations will be framed to facilitate infrastructurally self-contained self-financed Hi-Tech Habitats of high quality. Initially, five such Hi-Tech Habitats shall be planned and implemented in the rural hinterland of the cities: Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi and Bhubaneswar. It is estimated that progressively 50 such Hi-Tech Habitats can be viably set up by empowering the State Governments to autonomously nucleate them within a technologically progressive and administratively liberal set of guidelines to be prepared by a special Working Group on Hi-Tech IT Habitats to be set up by the Task Force.