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TRAI purposes govt funding for testing of new telecom products, tech

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested that the government should provide adequate funding to the new-age startups or innovators for the testing of new telecom technologies and products.

The regulatory authority has recommended to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that some of these products and tech, which lack adequate funds, might have the potential to bridge the digital divide and bring socio-economic advancement.

The sector regulator also added that the startups and entrepreneurs should be allowed to test their telecom product on live networks even if they don’t have got funding as part of the regulatory sandbox framework.

TRAI has mentioned this in the consultation paper titled, ‘Encouraging Innovative Technologies, Services, Use Cases, and Business Models through Regulatory Sandbox in Digital Communication Sector.’ It says, “Some innovative products that may have significant potential to bridge digital divide and bring socio-economic advancement to underprivileged sections may not be able to get sufficient funding from market sources.”

As per TRAI recommendation, the Indian companies, partnership firms, or research institutes that have done limited prior testing of their products can apply for regulatory sandbox testing for 12 months.

However, TRAI added that the security of networks and the protection of consumers must be ensured while testing the tech on live telecom networks. The applicants have to keep a record of all testing steps, data, consent records, etc., for a minimum of a year after exit from the sandbox environment. In addition, the data generated during testing should be stored and disposed of securely.

Digital Bharat Nidhi (commonly known as the Universal Service Obligation Fund) will have the authority to the allocation of funds. This move will ensure that innovators in any part of the country can work and bring new technology to the market with sufficient funding and testing to give it a fair chance to succeed.

Funds under Digital Bharat Nidhi, can be used to support pilot projects, and consultancy assistance. They can also be invested in the launch of the telecom services, technologies, and products.

TRAI has suggested that the government should immediately go for it and implement a regulatory sandbox in the digital communication sector. With the regulatory sandbox, the innovator will be allowed real-time but regulated access to telecom networks and customer resources to test out new technology more extensively. However, this is not possible with the conventional methods of lab testing and pilots.

Also Read: Starlink Might Be Available Soon In India, Expected To Get Approval From Govt Of India

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