New Delhi: The number of landline telephone connections in the country has shrunk over the last five years, standing at about 25.22 million in 2016 against 32.17 million in 2012, Parliament was informed today.
Further, the state-owned telecom operators like BSNL and MTNL — which account for bulk of the fixed line connections– are making all-out efforts and “regularly” rolling out attractive schemes to popularise landline phones in the country.
The landline connections stood at 24.34 million as on January 31, 2017.
“MTNL regularly promotes landline and broadband services through print, advertising, FM channels, outdoors and digital media and regularly gives attractive tariffs and offers to customers,” Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
BSNL too has introduced schemes like ‘Sunday free calling’ and ‘free night calling’ to popularise its landline connections.
The landline connections have fallen 21.6% in the last five years.
Fixed line connections stood at 32.17 million in 2012, and fell each year thereafter to 30.21 million (2013), 28.50 million (2014), 26.59 million (2015), and 25.22 million (2016), according to information shared by the Minister.
Sinha further said all the posts of member, Telecom Commission are vacant, and added that a proposal to fill up post of member (Finance) has been forwarded for approval of the competent authority and is expected to be filled soon.
The recruitment rules for the posts of member (services) and member (technology) are being amended, he said adding that the posts will be advertised after finalisation of the rules.
The Minister further said that Government has decided to set up the Centralised Monitoring System to automate the process of lawful interception and monitoring of telecommunications, and that 18 out of 21 Regional Monitoring Centres have been technically commissioned.
The remaining three RMC and disaster recovery centres for CMS are likely to be completed by the year end, he said.
To another question, he said that the 16,833 Gram Panchayats have been provided with broadband connectivity as on March 19, 2017, while trenching and ducting has been completed for 97,947 gram panchayats and optical fibre cable has been laid in case of 78,478 gram panchayats.
About Rs 4617 crore has been disbursed towards BharatNet project in the current financial year (upto March 23, 2017).
The Minister also said that the issues pertaining to Telecom Department including follow up of grievances, poor connectivity, and delay in releasing of new connections have been reviewed on February 22, 2017.
During the review meeting, it was decided that Telecom Secretary should find ways to improve the grievance redressal mechanism, and that the department should work in co-ordination with other department to tackle the utility shifting problem.