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CHAPTER 4: PROPEL INDIA - ENABLING NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGIES AND SERVICES THROUGH INVESTMENTS, INNOVATION, INDIGENOUS MANUFACTURING AND IPR GENERATION

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  • Attract investments of USD 100 Billion in the Digital Communications Sector
  • Increase India’s contribution to Global Value Chains
  • Creation of innovation led Start-ups in Digital Communications sector
  • Creation of Globally recognized IPRs in India
  • Development of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) in the field of digital communication technologies
  • Train/ Re-skill 1 Million manpower for building New Age Skills
  • Expand IoT ecosystem to 5 Billion connected devices
  • Accelerate transition to Industry 4.0

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Strategies:

The recent past has witnessed an unprecedented transformation in the Digital Communications Infrastructure and Services sector with the emergence of new technologies, services, business models and players. There is hence an imperative need to review the existing licensing, regulatory and resource allocation frameworks to incentivize investments and innovation to optimise new technology deployments and harness their benefits.

2.1 Catalysing Investments for Digital Communications sector:

(a) According Telecom Infrastructure the status of Critical and Essential Infrastructure

  • i. By recognizing communication systems and services as essential connectivity infrastructure at par with other connectivity infrastructure like Roadways, Railways, Waterways, Airlines etc. for development of India, and, in the process, enable low cost financing for development of communication infrastructure

(b) Reforming the licencing and regulatory regime to catalyse Investments and Innovation, and promote Ease of Doing Business by:

  • i. Reviewing levies and fees including License Fee, Universal Service obligation Fund (USOF) levy and concept of pass through revenues in line with principles of input line credit,
  • i. Rationalising Spectrum Usage Charges (SUCs) to reflect the costs of regulation and administration of spectrum
  • ii. Rationalising taxes and levies on Digital Communications equipment, infrastructure and services
  • iii. Enabling unbundling of different layers (e.g. infrastructure, network, services and applications layer) through differential licensing
  • iv. Establishing light touch licensing regime for the proliferation of Public Data Offices and Public Data Office Aggregators for providing internet access through Wi-Fi Hotspots
  • v. Introducing various fiscal and non-fiscal benefits for development of telecom clusters around cable landing stations to foster innovation in Digital Communications Technologies

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(c) Simplifying and facilitating Compliance Obligations by:

  • i. Reducing license and regulatory compliance requirements keeping in view best international practices
  • ii. Simplifying all existing technical systems and online systems applicable for grant of licenses, approvals, clearances, permissions and developing a comprehensive end-to-end online platform
  • iii. Specifying timelines within which various types of licenses, permissions and clearances shall be provided by the relevant administrative offices
  • iv. Improving the Terms and Conditions for ‘Other Service Providers’, including definitions, compliance requirements and restrictions on interconnectivity
  • v. Reforming the Guidelines for Mergers & Acquisitions, 2014 to enable simplification and fast tracking of approvals
  • vi. Establishing exit norms for licensees including alignment to bankruptcy code to maximize telecom sector system efficiencies and consumers interest
  • vii. Fixing the penalty provisions to ensure proportionality and reasonableness
  • viii. Creating a regime for fixed number portability to facilitate one nation – one number including portability of toll free number, Universal Access numbers and DID numbers
  • ix. Simplify ETA (Equipment Type Approval) process for low powered (< 1 watt) radio devices

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2.2 Ensuring a holistic and harmonised approach for harnessing Emerging Technologies

(a) Synergising deployment and adoption of new and emerging technologies by:

  • i. Creating a roadmap for emerging technologies and its use in the communications sector, such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing and M2M
  • ii. Simplifying licensing and regulatory frameworks whilst ensuring appropriate security frameworks for IoT/ M2M / future services and network elements incorporating international best practices
  • iii. Earmarking adequate licensed and unlicensed spectrum for IoT/ M2M services
  • iv. Encourage use of Open APIs for emerging technologies

(b) Promoting innovation in the creation of Communication services and network infrastructure by Developing a policy framework for ‘Over The Top’ services

(c) Ensuring the Transition to IPv6 for all existing communications systems, equipment, networks and devices

(d) Enabling Hi - speed internet, Internet of Things and M2M by rollout of 5G technologies:

  • i. Implementing an action plan for rollout of 5G applications and services
  • ii. Enhancing the backhaul capacity to support the development of next-generation networks like 5G
  • iii. Ensuring availability of spectrum for 5G in <1 GHz, 1-6 GHz and >6 GHz bands
  • iv. Reviewing industry practices with respect to traffic prioritisation to provide 5G-enabled applications and services
  • v. Developing framework for accelerated deployment of M2M services while safeguarding security and interception for M2M devices
  • vi. Defining policy for EMF radiation for M2M devices, with accompanying institutional framework to coordinate government-funded and India-specific research in this regard
  • (e) Ensuring adequate numbering resources, by:

    • i. Allocating 13-digit numbers for all M2M mobile connections
    • ii. Developing a unified numbering plan for fixed line and mobile services

    (f) Establishing India as a global hub for cloud computing, content hosting and delivery, and data communication systems and services

    • i. Evolving enabling regulatory frameworks for promoting the establishment of International Data Centres, Content Delivery Networks and independent interconnect exchanges in India
    • ii. Enabling a light touch regulation for the proliferation of cloud based systems

    (g) Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in a synchronized and effective manner to enhance the overall quality of service, spectrum management, network security and reliability

    (h) Recognizing Digital Communications as the core of Smart Cities by:

    • i. Developing, in collaboration with Ministry of Urban Development, a Common Service Framework and Standards for Smart Cities
    • ii. Facilitating and supporting deployment of innovative solutions in identified Smart Cities

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2.3 Research and Development

(a) Promoting research & development in Digital Communication Technologies by:

  • i. Restructuring C-DOT as a premier Telecom Research and Development Centre for identification, customization, and development of digital products and services in the country as per indigenous needs
  • ii. Simplifying approvals/ processes for R&D procurements/ imports
  • iii. Creating a framework for testing and certification of new products and services

(b) Creating a Fund for R&D in new technologies for start-ups and entrepreneurs to enable innovation in cutting edge communications, 5G, software, content, security and related technologies and applications; and commercialization of products and services through grants, scholarships, venture capital, etc.

(c) Establishing Centres of Excellence including in Spectrum Management, Telecom Security and Next Generation Access Technologies

(d) Fostering an Intellectual Property Rights regime that promotes innovation, by:

  • i. Implementing key recommendations in the National IPR Policy pertaining to Digital Communications, including a review of the legal regime around copyright, patents and trade marks
  • ii. Assisting start-ups in filing copyright, patent and trademarks applications
  • iii. Providing financial incentives for the development of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) in the field of digital communications technologies
  • iv. Promoting Indian IPR through international collaborations and active participation in standard development processes and IPR related events

(e) Simplifying the process of obtaining Experimental Licenses and establishing regulatory sandboxes; viz.:

  • i. Enabling creation of suitable infrastructure for testing of new products and services with due regard to safety and security concerns
  • ii. Facilitating allocation of spectrum for R&D and experimentation at affordable prices
  • iii. Simplifying and fast-track approvals for products and services for experimental purposes through de-licensing and other mechanisms; and promoting establishment of test beds, incubators, innovation centres, etc. in collaboration with industry and academia

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2.4 Promoting Start-ups

(a) Supporting Start-ups with various fiscal and non-fiscal benefits, including:

  • i. Academic collaborations, permissions for pilots and testing, concessions on imported software, mentoring support, etc.
  • ii. Promoting participation of Start-ups in government procurement

(b) Reducing the entry barriers for start-ups by reducing the initial cost and compliance burden, especially for new and innovative segments and services

(c) Prescribing a simple and enabling regulatory framework for application service providers in order to promote innovation in Application Services for Digital Communications

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2.5 Local Manufacturing and Value Addition

(a) Maximising India’s contribution to global value chains, by focussing on domestic production, increasing exports and reducing the import burden, by:

  • i. Rationalising taxes, levies and differential duties to incentivize local manufacturing of equipment, networks and devices to the extent of domestic value addition
  • ii. Introducing Phased Manufacturing Program for identified product segments in Digital Communication Technologies
  • iii. Attracting Global OEMs and Generic Component players to setup manufacturing base in India
  • iv. Ensuring the availability of essential background IPR in Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms required for promoting local manufacturing
  • v. Promoting design led manufacturing in India by leveraging indigenous software/ R&D capabilities
  • vi. Incentivizing fab and/or fab-less design and manufacturing of chips and system on a chip (SOC) for network and devices in emerging technologies
  • vii. Attracting global talent from Indian diaspora to create best in class enterprises

(b) Ensuring strict compliance to Preferential Market Access requirements:

  • ii. Preferring domestic products and services with domestically owned IPR in the procurement by government agencies, especially for the procurement of security related products
  • iii. Incentivizing private operators to buy domestic telecom products

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2.6 Capacity Building(a) Building human resource capital to facilitate employment opportunities in Digital Communications Sector:

  • i. Building national capacity and institutional capabilities in telecom security tools, standards and forensics including in manufacturing of critical telecom equipment
  • ii. Creating educational resources relating to the communications sector and making them available in an open and accessible format to promote self-directed and collaborative learning through interactive formats, including audio, video and text

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2.7 Strengthening of PSUs

(a) Focus on building technical expertise and knowledge management for Public Sector Units, through the following initiatives:

  • i. Building internal capacity within PSU’s to promote secure and efficient service delivery, infrastructure development and domestic manufacturing.
  • ii. Identifying and exploiting operational synergies in service provisioning, infrastructure creation, R&D, Standardization and manufacturing
  • iii. Using the training infrastructure available with telecom PSUs for skill development
  • iv. Upgrading the manufacturing PSUs under DoT to effectively harness strategic and operational synergies

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2.8 Accelerating Industry 4.0

(a) Create a roadmap for transition to Industry 4.0 by 2020 by closely working with sector specific Industry Councils

(b) Establish a multi-stakeholder led collaborative mechanism for coordinating transition to Industry 4.0

(c) Developing market for IoT/ M2M connectivity services in sectors including Agriculture, Smart Cities, Intelligent Transport Networks, Multimodal Logistics, Smart Electricity Meter, Consumer Durables etc. incorporating international best practices.

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