ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Rohit PrasadSubscribe to Rohit Prasad

Net Neutrality to Digital Dynamism

The uproar over net neutrality ignores the fact that the net has not been neutral for many years. It is neither feasible nor desirable to return to an imagined state of original innocence. At the same time, the ideal of an internet driven by innovation and directed by consumer choice remains as valid as ever. It is not net neutrality that is needed now, it is digital dynamism that should be the priority.

Unfinished Tasks in the Liberalisation of Spectrum for Mobile Services

After a command and control paradigm of spectrum management lasting from 2001 to 2008, India has gone in for a phased transition to a liberalised regime. Notable elements of this change include the unbundling of spectrum from the service licence, the choice of the auction mechanism for the assignment of spectrum and the freedom to use a spectrum block with any technology. However, elements of the current scenario of spectrum markets in India indicate that there remains an unfinished agenda in spectrum liberalisation. These include a high price of spectrum compared to international benchmarks, low spectrum holding per operator, and vast tracts of unutilised spectrum in rural areas. The lacunae in the current framework of spectrum management leading to persisting inefficiencies are elaborated upon and solutions proposed.

The Economics of Net Neutrality

The emergence of broadband networks - both wireline and wireless - has assisted in fostering the applications and content development, and provided content and application providers with a huge and growing addressable market with very low barriers to entry. However, there is always a tension between end-user connectivity providers and CAPs on the nuances of net neutrality, the principle that content consumed should be decided by the end-user without any distortion by the connectivity provider. While much attention has been paid to the technology dimensions of net neutrality, this paper addresses the economic dimensions, including access and termination pricing, the waterbed effect, and the two-sided nature of broadband markets. The paper also summarises regulatory views on net neutrality in the advanced countries such as the United States and the European Union and contrasts them with possibilities in emerging countries such as India.

Critique of the Common Service Centre Scheme

The Common Service Centre scheme aims to establish nearly three lakh rural internet kiosks across India. A recent evaluation study, however, found poor demand among users and delayed roll-out of government-to-consumer services, causing losses and attrition among private operators of the scheme. There is space, therefore, for greater engineering of public good outcomes by tying financial incentives to computer education goals.

2008 Telecom Licensing Policy: Conceptual Issues

The Department of Telecommunications' 2008 licensing policy increased the number of operators per circle, and accelerated subscriber growth and teledensity. It also raised interesting conceptual questions about the optimal number of licences that should be issued, the advantages of auctioning licences and effects on service quality and penetration, as well as the appropriate licensing regime for 2G and higher generation spectrum.

Value of 2G Spectrum in India

The granting of universal access service licences in 2007 at a price equal to that revealed by the spectrum auctions of 2001 has proved very controversial. An economic model for spectrum pricing is developed in this article, to evaluate the various claims made in this debate. The estimation exercise shows that the value of spectrum was much higher than the fees charged, even allowing for the cost of capital.

A Critique of Spectrum Management in India

This article examines the recommendations of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India for preventing the "winner's curse" and promoting a healthy competitive environment for sustaining the growth of this exponentially growing industry.

Spectrum Allocation Mechanism for 3G Mobile Services

This article suggests a revision of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India's bidding process that allocates spectrum space to mobile phone service providers for the provision of 3G services.
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