If you have been buying internet access from your local cable guy, you really need to call up and check if they are licensed by the government to do so. Both the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) are on rampage to crack down on illegal or unlicensed broad service providers, which according to an India Today report is resulting major revenue loss to the government.
The report cites quotes from a senior official from the government stating that unlicensed broadband providers, which have grown in number over the years in Delhi and NCR are creating loss of revenue and even security loopholes, thanks to their cheap and fraudulent operations.
The allegedly fake service providers which have an estimated userbase of around 15,000 users in Noida itself, do not maintain weblogs of customers and do not even possess monitoring facilities at their offices. And this is where the ATS steps in as it poses a national security threat.
The issue of unlicensed ISPs came to light when Trai's monitoring wing, the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) came across fraudulent usage of the internet in large numbers.
Such smaller operations basically buy bandwidth from major telecom providers and sell them to household and corporate premises at abnormally low rates. According to the report, the license to run a small setup is around Rs 10-12 lakh, and has seen a price drop from Rs 20 lakh, thanks to the government's push for internet penetration in the country.
Running a cheap setup and avoiding licensing fees makes for quick money, but it eventually puts customers at risk. Noida and NCR could just be the start if Trai and the ATS decides on pursuing this crackdown nationwide.