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Create NGN forum for level playing field: Assocham

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Sep 10 (UNI) In a bid to provide level playing field to old and new telecom services irrespective of licence, industry chamber Assocham has proposed evolvement of a national Next Generation Network (NGN) Forum and redefining the existing Time Division Multiplexing (TDM).

''Government should also urgently resolve the issue of availability of spectrum and expedite the regulatory approach to 3G and WiMAX,'' said Assocham President Anil K Agarwal.

In a note submitted to the Communications and IT Minister, the Chamber stated that need has been necessitated because the telecom network of today has been versatile and derived from new protocols which permits separation of the network, transport and application layers of the network.

The evolvement of Nextgen network architecture will impose several challenges such as induction of NGN and deployment of soft switch based networks which will demand an immediate and complete redefinition of the Interconnect Regulatory Regime as it prevails today, it said.

Moreover, the prevailing TDM inteconnections would move to an IP based Inteconnect enabling flexible and on demand bandwidth allocation to service providers. This will, in turn, render the existing Point of Interconnect (POI) regime obsolete and legacy architecture based on old technologies therefore cannot be the benchmark for future network implementations.

The Chamber said the ability of a variety of end user devices to access the network and derive all the services without restriction will pose level playing field and licensing issues -- this needs quick resolution and one needs to start thinking now.

It further stated that the new network is enabling and will make possible a host of new services and applications delivered over an IP core. IP is blurring the distinction between delivery channels like telephone and cable networks and also between different types of content, whether voice, data or video.

In the existing legal and regulatory framework within the 'broadcast' and 'telecom' sectors, there is no flexibility to accommodate a new paradigm like IPTV. Therefore, there is an urgent need to review both the cable and broadcast laws to accept and permit delivery of the same services using different network platform. Also issues relating to licensing and level playing field will arise and have to be addressed, Asssocham said.

''The Cable TV Act, the Indian Telegraph Act, the TRAI Act, IT Act, the Broadcast rules, the Wireless Act and the impending New Telecom Policy would all have to be simultaneously reviewed addressing the new realities and leaving no room for ambiguity, interpretation and disputes.'' Referring the regulatory and policy imperatives in the emerging new era, Mr Agarwal said the government needs to be a referee in the communication industry, should only give light regulatory touch and ensure that competition is fair and not favour one technology over another.

The Chamber also mentioned that there is a definite shift from predominantly voice only networks towards networks that support data and other value added applications.

The real revenue driver for today's mobile networks is content.

Mobile gaming is a huge opportunity with enormous potential, the Chamber said. ''Revenues from gaming are expected to touch 210-250 million dollars or Rs 945 crore to Rs 1,125 crore) in 2006.'' UNI SRS PV BS1201

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