DoT India has accepted TRAI's recommendation on reslae of international bandwidth & access to landing stations

The Department of Telecom, India has accepted TRAI's proposals of resale of bandwidth and access to essential facilities like landing for submarine cables at landing stations with a view to promoting competition in this segment which will bring down prices. TRAI has proposed an entry fee of Rs 1 crore and a bank guarantee of the same amount for operators to be allowed for buying bulk bandwidth from international long-distance telecom companies and selling it to end users such as banks, IT firms and BPOs. The regulator also suggested a license fee at six per cent of adjusted gross revenues, same as that of ILDOs. The Licensor has also amended the relevant clauses in ILDO licence to ensure efficient, transparent and non-discriminatory Access to Essential Facilities including landing facilities for Submarine Cables at Cable Landing Stations (CLS).

Only ILDOs such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance, BSNL and VSNL, are permitted to sell international bandwidth, also known as international private leased circuits. TRAI believes that competition in IPLC (international bandwidth) segment could be enhanced if ILD licensees entering the market have adequate access to necessary facilities at cable landing stations. The CLS are the points at which International submarine cables come onshore and terminate. To ensure this access, the interconnection regulations should provide for dominant suppliers who control or who are responsible for the operation of the cable landing station, to allow other licensees to have access to the cable landing stations and physically co-locate their own equipment. The regulation should also see that interconnection at the cable landing station to any operator's equipment in the station at any technically feasible point; and access backhaul circuits of all types in a timely fashion, under terms & conditions and rates that are cost-oriented, transparent, and non-discriminatory.
TRAI had earlier observed that the IPLC segment was lacking competition. Examining the issue of access to cable landing stations (CLS) by various service providers TRAI felt that competition in IPLC is being hampered by the absence of mandated equal access to cable landing stations. Therefore, it recommended that ILD licence agreement should be removed and the clause expanded to mandate permission to landing of submarine cables owned by licenced operators.

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