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India’s Trai gives 10 days for subsea access charge consultation

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The Indian telecoms regulator has given the industry just 10 days to respond to a consultation about fixing charges to access subsea cable networks.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) published the request yesterday and wants comments by Monday 29 October, with the deadline for counter comments set for Friday of that week.

The consultation (PDF here) follows a long wrangle between Trai and the industry that started six years ago and was challenged repeatedly in India’s courts.

Trai wants to set the access facilitation charges payable by international long distance operators and ISPs to the owners of cable landing stations to connect to subsea cables. The regulator wants to reduce charges to 36,000 rupees ($490) a year for STM-1 bandwidth and 625,000 rupees ($8,500) for STM-64.

Tata Communications and Bharti Airtel have both challenged Trai’s plans, both saying that the regulator missed some items; and Airtel also complained about the methodology.

On 8 October the Indian supreme court ordered Trai to begin a new consultation, resulting in the document that was published yesterday. Trai said in its paper: “[The] 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.”

Trai has been contesting the original court decisions since December 2012. In July this year it lost to the Madras [Chennai] high court and at the beginning of October the supreme court backed the Madras court.

In its consultation, Trai asks what the utilisation factor and what the utilisation factor should be to determine annual access facilitation charges, annual operation and maintenance charges for capacity.

 

 

 

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