“Public Good” Element in Spectrum Pricing Getting Recognised: Telecom Minister


'Public Good' Element in Spectrum Pricing Getting Recognised: Telecom Minister

Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that spectrum pricing also aims to provide services to poor

The element of “public good” in spectrum pricing translating to providing greater services to poor, is getting widely recognised now, telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Monday. He said this in context of the earlier spectrum process, hinting that at that time, the whole exercise was seen as a resource which should maximise revenue.

Addressing an event organised by industry body CII, the minister said that the “public good” element has led to a changed thought process that seeks to strike a balance between maximising revenue and maximising services to the poor.

“Today there is a balance in thought process that between maximising revenue and providing maximising service to the poor…there has to be a balance… somewhere it should be struck. That balance is today in a consultation process in the country,” he said.

Mr Vaishnaw further informed that consultation process on spectrum pricing is currently on, and urged the industry to participate in discussions and offer suggestions to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the issue.

“They (TRAI) will come up with a final document, based on which government will take a decision. But the thought process is that we have to make it affordable. That’s very, very significant change in thinking and Covid made us realise the importance of telecom…everything went digital,” he said.

Mr Vaishnaw, who is also the minister for electronics and IT as well as railways, further said that Internet brought with it opportunities and challenges, and regulations are focusing on ensuring a secure environment for all users.

“…internet brings the good things as well as the bad things. How do we face the challenges in a proper way. Lots of thought processes have gone in on regulation and this is in line with the global thinking that social media, big tech, internet…the way it is today, affecting our society in the positive as well as the negative way, somewhere the balance has to be brought,” the minister said.