AGR verdict brings certainty; DoT ought to now give attention to business profitability: Broadband India Forum

New Delhi, September 13

The AGR verdict will enable corporations to maneuver forward with certainty on enterprise plans, and the DoT should now give attention to steps to make the sector worthwhile and enticing to buyers by ease of enterprise measures in addition to decreasing of “onerous” duties and levies, business suppose tank Broadband India Forum (BIF) has mentioned.

BIF has additionally urged the Department of Telecom (DoT) to take fast choices on a spate of suggestions which have already been forwarded by the sector regulator together with main ones like public Wi-Fi networks for broadband proliferation.

BIF mentioned any delay in decision-making on TRAI’s suggestions comes at an “enormous economic cost” at a time when the nation has set its sights on huge digital transformation.

The Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) verdict has introduced in finality to the statutory dues concern, and the business can now transfer on with enterprise plans, BIF President T V Ramachandran advised PTI.

“Government must see how they can make the industry more profitable and attractive to investors. Ultimately, if you want investments to come into the country, you have to make the business case attractive,” Ramachandran added.

The fast focus should be on ease of doing telecom enterprise, and discount of “onerous duties and levies”, that are amongst the best, he mentioned.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court allowed telecom operators to pay 10 per cent of whole AGR-related dues this 12 months, and remainder of the funds in 10 instalments ranging from subsequent fiscal 12 months.

Ramachandran additional mentioned most of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) suggestions which have already been forwarded to DoT however stay in a limbo, now have to be pushed actively, whereas the provisions of already-notified National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) should be operationalised and applied, on the earliest.

TRAI suggestions that could possibly be very helpful as soon as applied, embody discount in licence payment, USO (Universal Service Obligation) levy and spectrum utilization fees; proliferation of broadband by public Wi-Fi networks; enhancement of scope of Infrastructure Providers Category-I (IP-I) registration, mentioned BIF.

Besides, suggestions on captive VSAT CUG (Very Small Aperture Terminal – closed customers group) coverage points, strategies on ease of doing telecom enterprise; spectrum utilization fees(SUC) and presumptive-AGR for web suppliers and business VSAT service suppliers, would even be useful, it mentioned.

Other key suggestions pertain to creating ICT (Information and Communications Technology) accessible for individuals with disabilities; next-generation Public Protection and Disaster Relief communication networks; spectrum, roaming and repair high quality associated necessities in machine-to-machine communications; definition of income base (AGR) for the reckoning of licence payment and SUC, and discount within the fee of GST imposed on the telecom sector. PTI

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