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Beware: Your high-speed 'local' internet may not be legal

Illegal broadband service providers get away with the 8-10% tax paid on revenue

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Beware: Your high-speed 'local' internet is causing losses to government

In the battle to control unlicensed broadband service provided by local cable operators and large internet service providers, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) have conducted raids across Uttar Pradesh (UP) as the government is suffering losses due to illegal internet connections. 

In a crackdown by UP-ATS along with the department of telecommunications (DoT), six illegal internet service providers, who were operating without a legal license, were busted in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. 

As these are not registered with the government, they get away with the 8-10 per cent tax slab one has to pay on the revenue incurred.

Sometimes, the small providers purchase bandwidth from major telecom operators to use it in a legalised manner but later deceitfully start making money by selling the same to local households or small corporations. Therefore, stressed the need to have 'broadband labeling' that will help consumers make an informed choice in picking a service provider. 

Some of the conditions subscribers must adhere to when signing such a policy is not to knowingly transmit a computer virus or disrupt the network, illegal acts such as accessing another person's computer system or sending bulk unsolicited e-mail. These are some security threats that users might face if they subscribe to illegal internet service. 

"Quality of in India remains a huge concern. Broadband infrastructure growth is as low as 1.5 per cent, with no further growth in wired connectivity," chairman R S Sharma told PTI. 

How do fake service providers operate?

Approximately, there are 15,000 illegal internet providers who neither maintain their customer user base nor abide by the regulatory rules. As the raid was conducted, the incident of several such operators who are not registered with the government bodies, came to light. 

From having to pay Rs 20 lakh to obtain license of a verified service provider, the government has brought it down to Rs 10-12 lakh in order to improve the internet penetration in India. The same is currently around 31%, according to IAMAI-IMRB report.

Every year, these providers are expected to pay a renewal fee which the fake service providers were escaping from, causing additional losses to the government. Therefore the ATS, along with and are tightening the noose for unmonitored providers.