New Delhi: The union cabinet during its meeting on Thursday is likely to take the final call on the National Telecom Policy (NTP) which proposes to abolish roaming charges within the country.

"NTP is part of the cabinet's agenda when it meets around 6 p.m. today," a senior official of the Department of Telecom said.

The draft policy which was introduced last October proposes to remove roaming charges for subscribers within the country besides  allowing cell phone numbers to be ported to any part of the country under the mobile number portability (MNP) service.

It also proposes delinking of spectrum with the licences besides exponentially increasing broadband availability and speed. According to the draft, the Telecom Industry should be accorded the status of an infrastructure sector to help ease credit flow to companies for funding roll-out plans or expansion activities.

Broadband penetration is another key thrust area for the new policy. According to Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, the government is targeting 175 million broadband users by 2017, and increasing this to 600 million by 2020.The policy when approved will replace the New Telecom Policy, 1999.


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