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TRAI task force for net expansionnews
Our Convergence Bureau
11 September 2002

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has published a set of recommendations to expand internet usage in the country. The recommendations include the creation of a domestic internet exchange and reduction of charges for internet leased lines and for dial-up access to the internet. These recommendations, publicized on 9 September 2002, have been made by a multi-disciplinary task force set up by TRAI.

Net penetration in India in terms of number of subscribers, is less than 1 per cent.

One of the issues that TRAI is attempting to address is the diversion of intra-India internet traffic out of India. A large number of websites of Indian companies are hosted on web servers overseas, mainly in America. The task force has recommended that a 'National Internet Exchange of India', or NIXI, be created to ensure that intra-India traffic is not carried overseas and then routed back to the country.

The TRAI task force hopes that NIXI will result in better internet infrastructure in the country and save foreign exchange on international bandwidth. The recommendation includes the establishment, initially, of four internet exchange points, or IXPs, in the four metro cities.

Also suggested is cheaper Internet access devices like low-cost indigenous personal computers. The TRAI also suggests steps be taken for the use of alternative access technologies like cable television and wireless local area networks and the simultaneous provision of Internet access along with voice in the local loop.

The TRAI is also concerned about the viability of internet service providers, or ISPs. With a view to bringing down their capital and operational costs, it has recommended that ISP services be given infrastructure status, at par with telecom. It also wants the government to facilitate ISPs' direct access to international submarine cable systems.

Another suggestion is the delicensing of 2.4 GigaHertz (GHz) band for low power outdoor usage for (wireless) last mile Internet access.

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TRAI task force for net expansion