India mulls scrapping national long distance call

By agencies   |   Tuesday, 24 May 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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CHENNAI: Union Communication and Information Technology Minister Dayanidhi Maran has said that the Center was working towards freeing the entire country from the present STD (national long distance) system.

Maran said after correcting the telecom imbalance in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharastra and Uttar Pradesh, his Ministry's next move was to do away with the STD system in the country as a whole.

''The day is not far off when STD system is dispensed in the country,'' Maran said, adding that efforts were also being made to rope in more customers and enhance the tele-density in the country to 10:5 by 2009.

''I want to make local call facility right from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and increase the tele-density to 10:2 in 2007 and 10:5 in another two years,'' he said. The Telecom Department could get the patronage of the customers only if the rates were made competitive, he added.

Presently, there were 100 million telephone users in the country and the tele-density stood at 10:1, compared to 10:5 in China. ''My department has chalked out plans to enhance the customer base from the existing 100 million to 250 million in the next three years.''

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