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Rediff.com  » Business » VSNL lashes out at US over bandwidth issue

VSNL lashes out at US over bandwidth issue

August 22, 2005 10:13 IST

Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd lashed out at the Office of United States Trade Representative for the critical stance it has taken on VSNL.

It is not "appropriate for a foreign governmental agency to interfere with the working of a judicial system in another country," VSNL said.

USTR has written a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India alleging that VSNL dominates the submarine cable bandwidth in India and was responsible for bandwidth issues in the country.

VSNL sought to clarify things telling TRAI that USTR has not identified any specific instances/concrete examples of its unreasonable restriction of cable station access.

Its letter to TRAI also stated that USTR's letter is based on "incorrect facts and that the proposal to adopt new and burdensome regulations for Indian carriers would disservice India."

The spat between VSNL and USTR is against the backdrop of a senior USTR executive Rob Portman's forthcoming visit to India next month.

Portman is slated to discuss making changes in the regulatory framework. USTR had earlier set up a body, United States-India Trade Policy Forum, to focus on increasing economic ties between the two countries.

Strongly rejecting USTR's allegations that it dominates the submarine cable sector, VSNL said, "Out of the eight cable stations, only one is wholly-owned by VSNL and the company has no stake in i2i and FALCON cables. In other five cable systems, VSNL has a minority stake."

The six major cable systems that land in India today are Flag Europe Asia, SEA-ME-WE-2, SEA-ME-WE-3, SAFE, i2i and Tata Indicom. Two more cable systems -- SEA-ME-WE-4 and FALCON -- are scheduled to become operational next year.

The Tata group company, too, expressed its disappointment at USTR repeating allegations of certain unnamed US carriers.
Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai
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