|1179/DoT-R/ISPAI/09 12 March 2009
Department of Telecommunication
Sanchar Bhavan, Ashok Road,
New Delhi – 110 001.
Sub: EoI for provision of Wire-line Broadband Connectivity in Rural & Remote Areas
We are extremely grateful to you for the patient hearing and kind courtesy extended to ISPAI representatives on 6th March 2009 instant when we called on your office in respect of aforesaid issue.
As discussed during the meeting, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been unduly excluded from participating in the Expression of Interest (EoI) issued by your good offices vide Notice No. F. No. 30-160-8/Wireline_BB/2006-USF Dated: 02.02.2009 for provision of Wire-lined Broadband Connectivity in Rural & Remote Areas.
We wish to reiterate that ISPs have the license and the capability to provide Broadband Connectivity in Rural & Remote Areas. ISP License permits ISPs to lay their own last mile linkages using the copper or optical fiber cable. Kindly refer ISP License clause 7.5 of Schedule C, Part II (existing/old ISP license with Internet Telephony amendment dt. 16th April 04 and Part IV – condition-24, Network Interconnection, clause 24.5 of amended ISP license dt 24.8.2007). The same is reproduced below:
“Last Mile linkages shall be freely permitted within local area either by fibre optics or radio communication or underground copper cable for ISPs”. (Copies enclosed for your ready references).
Several ISPs have last mile linkage (either through fiber or copper or radio) in remote areas or are quite close to such areas. It is possible for them to quickly roll out their services to provide Broadband Connectivity in Remote & Rural Areas. Since ISPs especially smaller ones, are closer to end users and with efficient use of infrastructure and low over-head they will be able to provide Broadband in the remote / rural areas. These ISPs not only can help educate / train them about the benefits of Broadband but also take care of their devices. ISPs can bring more choice and competition to rural consumers.
Government’s objective is to spread the broadband connectivity in the rural and remote areas of the country. USO support should not be restricted to any particular licensee. Whosoever is capable of providing such services, irrespective of their license, should be allowed to take part in the bidding process of USO fund.
ISPAI representatives had met your predecessor in this connection and informed him about ISPs’ role in spreading the Broadband in the remote and rural areas and requested him to include ISPs while inviting any EoI in this connection.
In view of the above we once again request you to issue an addendum to EoI notice dated 2.2.2009 allowing ISPs in the bidding process for provision of Wire-line Broadband Connectivity in Rural & Remote Areas and extend the last date of EoI suitably.
Awaiting an early and favourable reply.
With kind regards.
For Internet Service Providers Association of India