Saturday, May 12, 2007

Surfing the Net May Get Expensive

Internet services are likely to get more expensive. Broadband connection users might have to pay more for Internet access if the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommendations to impose an annual license fee for Internet service providers come into effect.

Telecom regulator Trai on Thursday recommended that all internet service providers (ISPs) pay 6% of revenues as license fee, have a uniform foreign holding of 74% like other telecom services and proposed that new entrants be charged an entry fee of Rs 20 lakh for a nationwide license and Rs 10 lakh for a state license, against the current flat entry fee of Re 1.

It also recommended that all ISPs that have so far been permitted 100% FDI reduce their foreign shareholding to 74% in two years’ time. The regulator also recommended that all ISPs be permitted to offer internet telephony, against the current policy requiring a special license to offer the facility.

The government had set a target of 18 million Internet subscribers and 9 million broadband connections by the end of 2007.
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