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Govt must review private network guidelines: Broadband India Forum

Group says policy announcement gives no predictability to industry about 'way forward'

Department of Telecommunications | Telecom Minister | broadband

Aneesh Phadnis  |  Mumbai 

broadband, internet, data, wifi
Illustration: Binay Sinha

The India Forum (BIF) has sought a review of government guidelines on captive non-public networks, saying they hurt enterprises.

The (DoT), late Monday evening, released guidelines for private networks. The guidelines followed the union cabinet’s decision to sell spectrum and subsequent notice for auction.

The government has allowed direct allotment of spectrum to enterprises for private networks but with a rider. It said that DoT would carry out demand studies and then seek the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendations for direct assignment of spectrum.

The forum, which represents Amazon, Google, Intel and other companies, criticised this provision. “While one can envisage the possibility of demand estimates/studies in the case of public or external networks, the same appear to be rather inconceivable in the case of captive/non-public networks since these would vary from entity to entity…,” said BIF president T V Ramachandran in a letter to the DoT.

There the government has given no timeframe for these actions. “Hence enterprises get straightaway impacted by a lack of predictability of the way forward for industry 4.0 plans,” he said.

The BIF said there is uncertainty about the pricing of spectrum enterprises would be assigned, wanting to know whether it would be charged or assigned without cost. It demanded a reconsideration of the proposal which requires enterprises to have a minimum net worth of Rs 100 crore. “While it may be acceptable to large enterprises it might be a deterrent for young and promising startups, reputed research institutions etc,” said Ramachandran.

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First Published: Wed, June 29 2022. 18:23 IST