BIF Applauds TRAI’s Recommendations on Spectrum Charges for ISPs, VSAT Services

Broadband India Forum hails TRAI’s Recommendations on spectrum usage charges and presumptive adjusted gross revenue for Internet service and commercial VSAT service providers.

T.V. Ramachandran, President –Broadband India Forum ( BIF ) said it is a small but significant step in the right direction to help reduce the burden of the TSP/ISPs as well as that of the VSAT service providers by recommending that spectrum usage charges ( SUC ) should be based on existing formula-based mechanism and not as a percentage of their Annual Gross Revenues ( AGR ) thereby paving the way for a more active engagement of the ISPs and TSPs offering Internet Access Services to increase broadband penetration in the country and expedite promotion of Digital India initiatives of providing affordable, accessible and available broadband across the country. He hoped that this would be the first of many such recommendations from the Regulator to expedite broadband penetration and the vision of Hon’ble PM to realize Digital India fully.

While lauding the TRAI for its recommendations for streamlining the procedure/process of allocation of satellite capacity and the frequency allocation subsequently by WPC for VSAT service providers and capping it to be provided in a time bound manner –within a span of 3 months was indeed praiseworthy. He further went on to mention that the idea of a single window clearance for all clearances/approvals/payments through a transparent online mechanism is a wonderful and welcome idea in this age of digital payments and single point responsibility. .

Ramachandran commented by stating that BIF ‘s position on many of the points made by the Regulator stand vindicated through these recommendations viz.

a) The given spectrum bands be charged administratively and on a link-by-link basis

b) P-AGR should not be prescribed either for ISP licenses or for Commercial VSAT Licenses

c) SUC calculation/determination should continue to be based on the existing formula instead of as a percentage of the AGR.

d) Delayed payment in case of SUC should be charged on the basis of SBI PLR +2%

e) SUC should be capped at 1% AGR ( max )

f) The Time gap between allocation of capacity for VSAT SPs and frequency allocation by WPC should be kept to a bare minimum of not more than 3 months

g) DOT should provide for a single window clearance for all allocations/clearances etc and should be through a transparent online system