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CHILDLINE - Strategic Policy Initiative - Telecom

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Telecom

Networking and Advocacy initiatives:

Commonwealth Telecom Organization (CTO), an international development partnership between Commonwealth and non- Commonwealth governments, business and civil society organizations, provides international communities an effective means to bridge digital divide and achieve social and economic development, by delivering unique knowledge sharing Programmes in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in areas of telecommunications, IT, broadcasting and Internet.

CTO in conjunction with the Centre for Telecom Policy Studies, Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad organized a Global Summit on Connecting Rural Communities - Emerging Technologies and Best Practice Solutions for Rural ICT Access. The Global Meet was hosted by BSNL in Cochin from 30th January
to 2nd February 2006.

CHILDLINE was invited to make a presentation to highlight the issues faced by a nationwide tele-helpline. Kajol Menon, Executive Director of CHILDLINE India Foundation, in her presentation, highlighted on the issues faced by CHILDLINE. The objective was to draw the attention of all the key telecom stakeholders (Government & Private) in India on the need to support helplines like CHILDLINE 1098.

Telecom connectivity:

1098 connectivity: CHILDLINE service is based on the effectiveness of the telecom networks in India to be able to allow unhindered access for children to dial 1098, in times of distress or when they need help, from any location. In the last couple of years the telecom scenario in India has changed significantly and this has impacted the number of calls we receive on the 1098 network.

India's mobile subscriber base crossed the landline subscriber base. And the gap is growing very fast. As of March 05, Mobile connections at 52.22 million had exceeded fixed line subscribers at 46.19 million. As at end December 2005, total subscriptions figure for all types had crossed the 100 million mark. BSNL, the largest fixed line service provider, had a growth of 2.58 % over previous yr, MTNL declined by 7.31%; mobile connections grew at 55% over previous year. All private service providers for fixed line also grew at rates ranging from 34.38% (Bharti) to 162% (Reliance). Clearly private telecom service providers will be here to stay and dominate the market. The connectivity from mobile phones to a BSNL landline involves BSNL/ MTNL infrastructure for terminating a call on a BSNL/ MTNL landline, for which currently BSNL/ MTNL charges 30ps per call for termination. This has to be paid by the service provider to BSNL/ MTNL unless it is waived by BSNL/ MTNL.

It is imperative that Private telecom service providers can overcome the connectivity problems; other wise private telecom service providers cannot offer the service of 1098 connectivity as a toll free service, terminating on a single landline. For CHILDLINE 1098 connectivity across all telecom service providers is now a necessity and it is only sustainable if all calls terminate on one phone at each call centre. It is not possible or viable to have separate termination phones for each and every telecom service provider.

If we expect that up to 40% of future calls may come in from mobile phones, and our target is 15 million calls per annum, then the interconnectivity cost for terminating mobile and private service provider calls to the BSNL/MTNL landline at the CHILDLINE Call Centre will involve a burden on CHILDLINE, which simply cannot be borne.

Linked to the complex telecom issue is that of providing 1098 as a toll free un-metered service. A National Numbering plan has been put in place and a Telecom Regulatory Body (TRAI) regulates the service delivery aspect of the sector. Sets of 4-digit numbers have been allocated to various social sectors. The national numbering plan has only 3 digit numbers of emergency and utility services which are mandatory for every telecom service provider to provide on their service, as a toll free un-metered service. 1098 along with other help lines is classified as grade II, which are not mandatory (to be provided by service providers as a free service). This has left CHILDLINE to the mercy of private telecom service providers for seeking connectivity.

Telecom Advocacy Initiatives:

To understand the importance of Connectivity & PCO mapping for the effective functioning of CHILDLINE CHILDLINE - Strategic Policy Initiative - Telecom Click Here CHILDLINE - Strategic Policy Initiative - Telecom

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CHILDLINE - Strategic Policy Initiative - Telecom Technology White Papers CHILDLINE - Strategic Policy Initiative - Telecom

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