Budget 2021: Govt May Reduce Taxes on Routers, Modems to Make Internet Cheaper, Enable WFH

The central government of India is reportedly considering a reduction in duties and taxes levied presently on internet equipment and accessories such as Wi-Fi routers and internet modems in the upcoming Union Budget 2021, according to a government official with knowledge of the matter. As mentioned, the government is considering this step in a bid to help make home internet equipment even more affordable for everyone. Furthermore, the government will look to urge telecom operators in making internet plans even more affordable for the masses, which in turn may help more small businesses and independent professionals to continue working from home, said the official.

The move may be geared to get more businesses into the work from home ecosystem, which has been necessitated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic period. While before this, most working professionals were used to availing enterprise internet infrastructure at workplaces, the work from home period has necessitated the presence of robust internet services at home. This further requires a reliable internet modem, an adequate Wi-Fi router and sufficient internet speed and data availability. This has required telecom operators to make work from home plans with high data quotas available to personal users, and with its upcoming Budget, the government will reportedly seek to enable operators and equipment manufacturers to make all products even more affordable.

India is already one of the most affordable internet markets in the world, with data costs running as low as Rs 3 per gigabyte. While this has been a major strength for users to cash in on, the rumoured upcoming move by the government will likely look to bring the benefit of affordable internet to even further areas across businesses in India. For instance, a large number of small and localised businesses may benefit significantly if internet services are made even more affordable, and therefore resume work in a decentralised way. It is, however, not clear yet as to how big an impact would the reduction in duties in this sector make in the overall affordability of routers and modems in India.