Trai seeks more time to reply VSNL petition

New Delhi, March 24 | Updated: Mar 25 2005, 05:30am hrs
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked for more time to reply to the points raised by VSNL in its appeal challenging Trais order on regulating prices of international bandwidth.

Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had asked Trai, which had reduced the international bandwidth prices by upto 70%, to file a reply on VSNLs petition by March 27 and had fixed March 29 for the next hearing.

VSNL had challenged Trais regulation on international bandwidth prices saying the issue should not be looked at in isolation. Commenting on Trai seeking more time to respond, sources said it is strange that Trai has asked for more time as it claims to have considered all possibilities and views over the last ten months before coming up with the recommendations.

VSNL said in its petition that the issue of IPLC (international private leased circuit) should not be seen in isolation vis-a-vis other costs like NLD (national long distance) and local loop.

IPLC is a very small fraction of the total cost of any bandwidth-related operation, so it is unfair to see IPLC prices separately and regulate them.

VSNL is not against giving the best prices to consumers. We want the price reduction to be rational and proportional across all legs of end-to-end connectivity; fully considering the capital and operational expenditure involved in international bandwidth, it said. The main users of IPLC in India are Internet service providers, IT and IT-enabled service enterprises like BPO units and ILD operators.

The petition mentions Trais plea of pushing broadband through this move is erroneous, since for increasing the use of broadband last mile has to be opened to private players and this has not yet happened. Trai sets the ceiling tariff for IPLC half-circuit in respect of E1, DS3 and STM-1 capacities at Rs 13 lakh, Rs 104 lakh and Rs 299 lakh a year respectively. The new tariffs prescribed by Trai would come into effect from April 1 2005.