Telecom regulator Trai Thursday launched the consultation process to determine charges for accessing submarine cable bandwidth vital for linking domestic telecom networks with global networks.
The move follows a Supreme Court direction on October 8 to re-work in six weeks the calculation factor that the regulator used to determine charges in 2012.
Trai in 2012 had lowered the access facilitation charges (AFC) for submarine cable landing stations to reduce communication cost for BPOs and small enterprises.
It had fixed Rs 36,000 per annum for low capacity STM 1 cable bandwidth and Rs 6.25 lakh for high capacity STM-64 per unit capacity at the cable landing station.
However, the same was challenged by two companies that owned cable landing stations and provide access to telecom companies against charges.
"Consultation paper is released to re-work the figures of 'Utilisation factor' and 'Conversion factor' used to estimate the access facilitation charges and co-location charges in compliance to the Hon'ble Supreme Court order," the consultation paper said.
There are presently 16 submarine cable systems, which connect India to the rest of the world. A submarine cable used for providing international telecommunication links stretches across many countries.
The access facilitation charges and co-location charges at cable landing station need a review as the cost of telecom equipment has gone down while the capacity utilisation of cable landing station has gone up.
Tata Communications has indicated few cost elements which according to them have not been considered in the calculation of the charges and Bharti Airtel too submitted that costing data and methodology applied to arrive at proposed charges by TRAI were not very clearly understood and there are items which have not been considered in arriving at the cost.
Trai has fixed October 29 as last date for comments, November 3 for counter comments on the paper. It will hold open house discussion on the same on November 5.
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