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New telecom policy on the anvil news
Our Corporate Bureau
18 August 2005

Chennai: In order to sort out the various issues bogging down the country''s telecom sector, the government is drafting a new telecom policy. Announcing this in Chennai, the union minister for communications, information and technology, said, "The policy will be announced soon. We would like to remove all the artificial barriers that hinder the sector." According to him the new policy will also address whether net telephony would be allowed within India.

The thrust of the government now is towards making the country into single unikfied telecom circle, he said.

A step towards this was taken sometime back when the department of telecommunications did away with the need for prefixing the STD code between eight circles — Chennai and Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and Maharashtra, Uttar Pradsh East and Uttar Pradesh West and Kolkata and West Bengal.

Maran also announced that the Chennai and Tamil Nadu mobile telecom circles would be merged into one from October 2005 onwards. "This is due to the fact that the players in both the circles are under common ownership," he said.

What will be interesting to note in the government''s move towards unifying circles is the way the concerns of National Long Distance (NLD) players would be addressed. There are four players in the NLD segment viz - VSNL, Reliance, Bharti and the public sector BSNL. The first three have entered the field paying licence fees.

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New telecom policy on the anvil