The chances are high that the high speed internet service at a low cost in your locality may be 'illegal' and posses a major 'security threat.'
Teams of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) are raiding across Noida to crack down on unlicensed broadband service provider causing huge revenue loss to the government.
A senior official said many unlicensed broadband companies have mushroomed in Delhi and NCR and majority of it are in Noida, which are further distributing internet network to household but without getting recognition from the government. These small companies buy bandwidth from major telecom giants to set-up internet service in a small community but fraudulently start selling to household and corporate.
HOW DO THEY OPERATE
According to an estimate, such fake service providers have around 15,000 user base in Noida itself which neither maintain the weblog of their customers nor did they have any regulatory and monitoring facility available with them. The incident came to light after monitoring wing of TRAI, Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) found fraudulent usage of internet in large number. As these illegal connections also possessed a national security threat, they roped in ATS in a joint operation.
On Monday, raids were conducted on six premises where six people were arrested who were operating like broadband service provider but were not registered with any government body. "To become an internet service provider each player needs to get licence from the government. These shady companies were buying bandwidth from telecom giants but were evading paying a licence fee. As they were not registered, so they were also not paying eight-10 per cent tax on the revenue made," said a senior ATS officer.
Earlier, a licence fee for a small player was around Rs 20 lakh but it was slashed to around Rs 10-12 lakh to boost internet penetration in the country. There is a renewal fee which needs to be paid each year which these companies were evading. "They must have caused loss of several crore to the government by not paying fee and taxes. We are yet scanning their user base which stand around 15,000 connections and checking the bank accounts," said the officer.
The ATS team is also tightening the noose around such unlicensed internet service provider as they are potential security threat.
"These players are not recognised so they violated all the checks and measures which are part for mandatory guideline for all the service providers. They have no log of searches made by their users. They were not maintaining any monitoring facility, making it easy for any antinational element to misuse the internet, without coming under scanner," added the officer. Police have seized several documents and equipment from them which will be further scanned. Experts claimed this is just a tip of iceberg as large numbers of internet connection are illegal and unmonitored. Delhi NCR alone has dozens of illegal service providers. There are three kind of licences available depending up the area they cover.
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