Govt. to exempt operators from license fee for rural telephony

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: With an aim to grow telecom base in rural areas, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to exempt telecom operators from paying license fees and spectrum charges for offering services in the rural areas.

For this purpose, the TRAI has asked the operators to submit the product wise revenues from rural areas so that it can make a decision.

The telecom regulator is working on a proposal to make telecommunications accessible to rural areas. Earlier, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had suggested excluding the revenue from rural areas for the purpose of calculating access deficit charge.

Despite being lucrative, private telecom operators in the country have bypassed rural areas and have not shown any inclination to develop rural telephony. All the burden of developing telecom in rural areas has been borne by government owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.

TRAI said telephony in rural areas could take off only if the operators are encouraged to roll out services at cost-effective tariffs. A relaxation in the levies would reduce the cost of offering services besides reduced cost of operations might attract the operators to set up telecom infrastructure in rural areas. BSNL controls about 99 percent of the rural subscribers.

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