Telecom Commission Approves Reduction in SUC for ISPs

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Spectrum Usage Charge should be levied at 1% so as to cover administrative charges and there should be no financial bank guarantee for ISP licences

Telecom Commission, in its meeting on Wednesday, approved the reduction in spectrum usage charge (SUC) for those internet service providers (ISPs) who use high frequency range radiowaves. The decision has been taken to fill the gap in ISPs network connectivity at the last mile access (subscriber’s end) and not for creating a ubiquitous mobile network across the entire telecom circle.

This is a part of recommendations submitted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on ‘Closure of Access Services’ that were cleared by the Telecom Commission.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan, in a press conference, said, “In the case of ISP and VSAT licencee no minimum presumptive AGR (part of entry fee paid by them) should be made applicable to them. SUC should be levied at 1% so as to cover administrative charges and there should be no financial bank guarantee for ISP licences.”

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Only 15 ISPs, out of 262 ISP licence holders, have been allocated spectrum by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) for a period of one or two years. DoT will continue to provide spectrum to ISPs on administrative basis in the bands of 2.7 GHz, 3.3 GHz, 5.7 GHz and 10.5 GHz.

Apart from these decisions, the Telecom Commission has also cleared the recommendation regarding the escalated cost of launching broadband network by the state governments for phase 2 of BharatNeT project.

Approval of capital expenditure for states

In the meeting, the commission has cleared a capital expenditure of Rs 405 crore, revised from the earlier Rs 375 crore, proposed by the government of Odisha with 8% (of capital expenditure) separate administrative expense, 6% operational expense and 3% contingency for a three-year period.

Likewise, the commission approved Rs 998 crore capital expenditure proposal from Andhra Pradesh, revised from Rs 847 crore, proposes capital expenditure for Jharkhand of Rs 490 crore from previous Rs 398 crore, for Maharashtra Rs 2,709 crore from Rs 1,871 crore and Rs 1,943 crore for Gujarat, under the phase 2 of BharatNet.

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