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Re: Dr. Roy's suggestion on Email in India....

Thank you for the reply.  Dr. Roy, you have indicated that email and
even Internet usage, in general, is spreading rapidly.  I would like to
bring our attention to an overlooked constraint - Interconnectivity!
This will become such a big issue in a mature IT  Infrastructure that
India will be forever shut out of the "big leagues" in the next century
unless we convince our lazy and oppressive Government to get its act
together.  Right  now, the interconnect laws as governed by the Telecom
Act of 1885 are a total mess.  While countries like the US, Japan, and
even a small country like Singapore have refined their National Telecom
Policies to include new technologies and mediums, India has made ZERO
effort!  In fact, we shot ourselves in the foot by recently outlawing
the IP  Telephony in favor of the state Monopoly, VSNL!!

    I am a bit surprised to hear from Dr. Roy that Email is spreading
rapidly or even that he is convinced that it will spread rapidly in
India - who are we comparing ourselves to?  Antarctica?

    What we should have done is to encourage our entrepreneurs to
explore the possibilities and come up with new protocols and techniques
for a "seamless" IP Telephony that is eluding most companies around the
world.  Instead, we have tied the hands of our most innovative minds by
outlawing this - all in the name of protecting a Monopoly, VSNL!  I
suppose, we will be looking for FDI in IP Telephony in 10 years from now
to make up for our "mismanagement" - surely, FDI will bail us out and
who needs entrepreneurs anyway.

    Our oppressive Government made the biggest mistake when it tried to
patch up the holes in its Telecom Policy in 1994.  What it should have
done, instead, is to come up with a framework that doesn't have any
holes!!  What do I mean by holes?

    1.The Telecom Policy of 1994 makes no effort to do away with the
Monopolies.  In fact, it gives VSNL/DoT more powers to determine
interconnect charges - a disaster.

    2.Simply put: the market should decide the interconnect charges.
Sounds a little fancy and chaotic.  Not so.  If you allow unlimited
players with no license fees in land line Telephony or even in wireless
(as much as the spectrum would permit) there can be restrictive trade
practices.  That is, any interconnect "alliance" would become impossible
because we have a lot of players - the consumer will benefit from
improved technology and lower costs.

    3.Although TRAI was created as an afterthought, the current Telecom
Policy has reduced this organization into a puppet by giving DoT the
power to license and to determine tariffs - someone is sleeping in the
Government!  A new Telecom Policy and a new Telecom Act that adheres to
Free Market principles would give India a chance to become a Global IT
Superpower in the next century.  Furthermore, the best way to encourage
a rapid expansion of the IT infrastructure is to do away with the
license fees altogether - this valuable capital can be used to build the
infrastructure instead!!

    4.Simple, transparent, and "Open Systems" Interconnect laws can be
formulated if we just remember that data is data is data!!  Who cares
whether it is voice, video, or native byte code of some Computer!  This
may be too simple, highly intelligent, and extremely productive concept
for the lazy and mindless Government drones.

    5.TCP/IP will be the basic pipeline for all the data for the next 50
years!!  Now, it may be encapsulated/packetized in ATM for high-speed
transport but this is not be confused with a "Control Protocol".  The
oppressive Government of India has put us 30 years behind US (as we
shall see) when it outlawed Internet Telephony and retained the Monopoly
status for VSNL.  Simply put: IP Telephony is more than just Voice over
IP - it will unleash new Data Transport Technologies.

    My final point is a very important one: the total damage to the
Economy and hence, the loss of revenue for the Government through income
taxation per year is
greater than the entire worth of DoT and VSNL!!  I think this point can
be logically argued.  For example, the E-commerce transaction are not
taxed in the US but
the Jobs and income created by it are certainly taxable and the
Government would earn close to $5 Billion by the year 2000 which is MORE
THAN the net worth
of VSNL, if I am not mistaken.

    In India, that kind of Job creation in the field of E-Commerce is
impossible since we have monopolies like DoT and VSNL which retard the
rapid expansion of
infrastructure and application of new technologies!!  In essence, the
Government of India is loosing more by allowing the Monopolies to exist
and by following an
out-dated document such as the Telecom Act of 1885 - I am afraid the
neanderthals will never learn but they will certainly beat their drum
about becoming an IT

Vamsi M.

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