Report urges India to let operators set Internet charges

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India's Department of Telecommunications will this month submit a report to the Telecom Commission proposing that private operators be given the freedom to fix charges for access to the Internet.

Though the move will still see government-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam as the sole conduit to the Internet, the flexibility will allow private service operators to fix tariff rates. Currently, the government determines every detail connected with the Internet.

The report recommends that Videsh Sanchar remain the sole link to the Internet for the next 10 years, with all private service providers routing traffic through the government corporation's Gateway services.

Private operators like SprintMail, ICNET, Ernet, aXcess, Xee and India World mainly provide value-added services like e-mail and news. Except Gateway, all services are off-line, adding to the frustration of delayed communication.

Copyright January 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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