Telecom Commission Meeting on NOFN Scheduled for January 19

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Telecom Commission Meeting on NOFN Scheduled for January 19
Inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission's meeting is scheduled to be held on January 19 to discuss issues related to national optical fibre project, which is moving at snail's pace, and involve private players for expediting it.

Members of the commission expect to discuss 3G auction related modalities if telecom regulator Trai sends its response related to recommendations on 3G spectrum auction.

The commission in a meeting on January 7 had sought clarification from Trai on its recommendations.

"Main issue listed for discussion is NOFN under which the government has given its commitment to complete it by 2016.

There is a view to involve private players to expedite the project. 3G spectrum related matters will be discussed if Trai replies in a day or two," an official source said.

The government has promised to connect 50 thousand village panchayats by the end of the current fiscal, 1 lakh by the end of March 2016 and rest of the 1 lakh panchayats by the end of December 2016.

The project is being handled by Bharat Broadband Network Limited, BSNL, RailTel and PowerGrid.

However, as per sources, lack of equipment and slow pace of work may result in government missing deadline.

On the other hand, the government has promised to sell 3G spectrum in auction scheduled to start from February 25 but is yet to finalise its price and other modalities related to it.

The Telecom Commission has questioned the methodology for arriving at base rate of Rs. 2,720 crores per megahertz for these airwaves, which is about 19 percent lower compared to the price paid by service providers in the 2010 auction.

Cabinet will take final call of pricing of 3G spectrum.

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