Thomas K. Thomas
Anil Sasi

New Delhi, June 12

THE Department of Telecom has shot down a proposal from Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd to provide leased line services to the Indian Air Force.

The proposal to link up 91 Air Force stations in various parts of the country was disapproved by DoT on the ground that PowerGrid did not have the licence to offer telecom services directly to the end consumer.

As per the proposal, PowerGrid had sought to establish a wide area network for the Indian Air Force, which would connect all computers and servers across 91 locations on a single network.

Though the public sector company's primary business is to serve as a central transmission utility in the power sector, PowerGrid has diversified its business operations into the telecom services sector and has acquired an infrastructure provider category - II licence.

However, according to DoT, an IP-II licence does not allow the company to sell bandwidth to the end user. It can only sell capacity to another telecom service provider such as Bharti, Reliance or Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.

Other utility companies such as RailTel and GailTel have also taken similar licences and are offering leased line capacity to telecom service providers. DoT said the end consumer can only be serviced by those operators with licence for providing last mile access, such as cellular or fixed line operators.

Senior PowerGrid officials said though a proposal was made to offer services to the Indian Air Force, it was not aware of the final outcome.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 13, 2005)
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