Aruna Sundararajan, secretary, department of telecommunications (DoT), said on Wednesday, November 8, the government will not disconnect mobile connections if not linked with Aadhaar.The Supreme Court is yet to pass a judgement on the issue where people have Aadhaar, but do not want to link it with their mobile number. “We are also working on alternatives for people who are abroad (to help them link their mobile number with Aadhaar),” Sundararajan said.
DoT is meanwhile preparing to finalize a new telecom policy, draft of which will be released in December for public comments. The telecom minister in a press conference on Wednesday said, “We are trying to bring a new telecom policy by February. For this the working group has started the process. We expect a high-level committee working on it to finalize draft by end of December and place it for public comments.”
Also the first phase of BharatNet project is expected to be completed by end-November, 2017. “Over 75,000 gram panchayats are ready with broadband services and all 1 lakh panchayats will be ready for broadband services by end of this month. Every month we are installing equipment in 8,000-9,000 panchayats. The whole project has been executed using domestically developed equipment,” Sinha said.
The government will charge a low rate to telecom operators for providing broadband service under the BharatNet project. The annual charges will vary from Rs 700 per mbps broadband connection for up to 10 Mbps and Rs 200 per mbps for 1 gbps for asymmetrical bandwidth (different download and upload speeds) for services between block to gram panchayats. However, for symmetrical bandwidth between block to a gram panchayat, the telecom ministry will charge Rs1,000 per mbps up to 10 mbps, and Rs 500 per mbps for 100 mbps per annum.
However, there will be no limit on quantum of data used or the number of connections that telecom operators can sell using BharatNet infrastructure, an official said.