15 Oct : The 10th meeting of South Asian Telecommunication Regulators’ Council (SATRC) concluded successfully today on 15th October 2008.
The South-Asian Telecommunications Regulators’ Council (SATRC) was formed under the aegis of Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) in 1997 with an aim to provide a platform for discussion and coordination of issues relating to regulation in telecommunications sector, which are of interest to the telecom regulators. SATRC is represented by nine member countries viz. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The annual meeting of SATRC is held in the member countries on rotation basis. The chairmanship of SATRC has now come to India for the next one year. This is the second time this honour has come to India, the first being in 1999 soon after the formation of SATRC.
The SATRC meeting was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister for Communications & Information Technology on 13th October 2008. The Minister stressed upon the necessity of bridging the digital divide for inclusive and sustained economic growth and reposed his faith in SATRC’s capability of handling the issue. The Minister also emphasized that the Next Generation Networks are going to bring in a new set of issues along with the benefits for which they are being inducted. The Minister also commended TRAI for handling crucial regulatory issues effectively, thus contributing significantly to the growth of telecom sector.
This was followed by an Industry-Regulators Dialogue, which was attended by the chief executives of the major telecom service providers in the country. Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology delivered the key note address on 14th October 2008. He emphasized the need and importance of direct connectivity between the member countries for the benefit of consumers. During the course of the meeting spread over three days from 13th to 15th October, the reports of six Working Groups were also presented and discussed extensively covering important areas such as spectrum allocation and pricing, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and other IP based services, next generation network (NGN), rural connectivity, regional roaming in SATRC countries etc. The meeting also adopted the implementation plan for SATRC for the next one year under the chairmanship of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The implementation plan has laid considerable emphasis on regional cooperation among SATRC countries so that the regulators of these countries can benefit from each other’s experience with the objective of “connecting the unconnected”, thus further fuelling the growth of telecom sector.
A two-day workshop on 16th and 17th October with participation from SATRC countries has also been organized immediately after SATRC 2008. The workshop will provide an opportunity to the experts to discuss extensively the regulatory aspects of NGN including interconnection.
At the conclusion of SATRC 2008 today, all the participating member countries acknowledged TRAI for ensuring a very high level of professional deliberations and for extremely forward looking regulatory practices.