National Digital Communications Policy 2018 Current Affairs
Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP 2018). It also has re-designated Telecom Commission as Digital Communications Commission. It replaces existing National Telecom Policy-2012 to cater to the modern needs of the digital communications sector of India.
National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP 2018)
It envisions supporting India’s transition to digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling information and communications needs of citizens and enterprises. It strives to achieve this by establishing ubiquitous, resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure and services. It is customer focused and application driven. It will help lead to new ideas and innovations after launch of advanced technology such as 5G, IOT, M2M, etc. which shall India’s govern telecom sector
- Broadband for all.
- Creating four million additional jobs in Digital Communications sector.
- Enhancing contribution of Digital Communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from ~ 6% in 2017.
- Propelling India to Top 50 Nations in ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017.
- Enhancing India’s contribution to Global Value Chains and
- Ensuring Digital Sovereignty.
These objectives are to be achieved by 2022.
NDCP 2018 aims to
- Provide universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen.
- Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022.
- Ensure internet connectivity to all uncovered areas.
- Attract investments of US $100 billion in Digital Communications Sector.
- Train 1 million manpower for building New Age Skill.
- Expand IoT ecosystem to 5 billion connected devices.
- Establish comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals
- Facilitate India’s effective participation in global digital economy;
- Enforce accountability through appropriate institutional mechanisms to assure citizens of safe and
- Secure digital communications infrastructure and services.
NDCP 2018 advocates
- Establish National Digital Grid by creating National Fibre Authority.
- Establish Common Service Ducts and utility corridors in all new city and highway road projects.
- Create collaborative institutional mechanism between Centre, States and Local Bodies for Common Rights of Way, standardization of costs and timelines;
- Remove barriers to approvals.
- Facilitate development of Open Access Next Generation Networks.
As the present technological world has entered into era of modern technological advancements in Telecom Sector such as 5G, Internet of things (loT), Machine to machine (M2M) communication etc. So, need was being felt to introduce customer focused and application driven policy for Indian Telecom Sector. This policy main intention was to serve as main pillar of Digital India by addressing emerging opportunities for expanding not only availability of telecom services but also telecom based services. Accordingly, new National Digital Communications Policy – 2018 has been formulated.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has released draft of new Telecom policy – National Digital Communications Policy, 2018. The policy seeks to unlock transformative power of digital communications networks to achieve the goal of digital empowerment and well-being of the people of India
Key Features of the draft policy
Strategic objectives: Calls for Universal broadband coverage, creating four million additional jobs in tdigital communications sector, enhancing contribution of digital communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from around 6% in 2017, enhancing India’s contribution to global value chains and ensuring digital sovereignty. These objectives will be achieved by 2022. It also aims to propel India’s rank in ICT development index (published by ITU) to top 50, from 134 in 2017.
Improvement in regulatory framework: The policy recognises its importance for attracting investments and ensuring fair competition, to serve the needs of the people. It aims to pursue regulatory reforms to ensure that regulatory structures and processes remain relevant, transparent, accountable and forward-looking. It aims to remove regulatory barriers and reduce the regulatory burden that hampers investments, innovation and consumer interest, the draft said. It also proposes to address woes of Telecom sector by reviewing licence fees, spectrum usage charges, universal service obligation fund (USOF) levy for enhancing ease of doing business in sector.
Rationalising spectrum regulatory regime: It recognises spectrum as key natural resource for public benefit to achieve socio-economic goals. It aims optimise availability and utilisation by making adequate spectrum available to be equipped for the new broadband era. It will be done by regulation and administration of spectrum and rationalising taxes and levies on digital communications equipment, infrastructure and services. It calls for simplifying process of obtaining permissions from various agencies such as Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocation (SACFA) and Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) in order to promote efficiency. It also calls for transparent and fair mode of spectrum allocation and assignments by developing fair, flexible, simple and transparent method. It proposes identifying and making available new spectrum bands for access and backhaul segments for timely deployment and growth of 5G networks and making available harmonised and contiguous spectrum required for deployment of next generation access technologies.
National Broadband Mission (Rashtriya Broadband Abhiyan): It will be established to secure universal broadband access for implementation of broadband initiatives. It will be funded through Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Its components include- BharatNet (providing 10 to 10 Gbps to Gram Panchayats), GramNet (connecting all key rural development institutions with 10Mbps to 100 Mbps), NagarNet (establish one- million public Wi-Fi Hotspots in urban areas), JanWiFi (establishing two-million Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural areas) and Fibre First Initiative (to provide fibre connectivity to home, enterprises and key development institutions in tier I, II and III towns and rural clusters).
Satellite Communication Technologies: Government would develop an ecosystem for satellite communications in India. It will be strengthen by revising licensing and regulatory conditions that limit the use of it, such as speed barriers, band allocation.
USOF: Its scope and modalities will be reviewed by redesigning USOF and broadening its objectives to enable universal broadband access and strengthening institutional capacity to ensure effective rollout of services in uncovered, remote and rural areas.
Quality of services: Effective institutional mechanisms will be established to protect consumers’ interests including Telecom Ombudsman and centralised web based complaint redressal system.
Comprehensive data protection regime: It has been mandated for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals and facilitates India’s effective participation in the global digital economy.
Use of renewable energy technologies in communications sector: It will be incentivised, including utilisation of small cell fuel batteries, lithium-ion batteries or other similar technologies. It calls for promoting R&D of green telecom through active participation of stakeholders across government, industry and academia and rationalising of taxes and levies on manufacture, production and import of such equipment for digital communication technologies.