Sunday, November 22, 2009

3G winners can use spectrum only after June

A Story taken from economictims . Read it
NEW DELHI: Successful winners of the third generation spectrum auctions, scheduled to be held in January 2010, will only be allowed to use these
airwaves after June next year. The department of telecom (DoT), in a communication to the defence ministry, while asking the armed forces to vacate 25 MHz of third generation airwaves by December ’09 for the upcoming auctions , has also added that it (the DoT) would ensure that ‘winners in 3G auction would start using this spectrum only after June 2010’. This is because, the armed forces would need some time to shift the operations of their equipment from the (spectrum) bands they vacate and this can be possible only by June 2010, the DoT communication to defence secretary Pradeep Kumar and cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar added. The DoT has also assured the defence ministry that it would complete the alternate network fibre cable for the armed forces by December 2012. Currently, in many key circles or regions, the armed forces occupy a significant amount of the 3G spectrum , vital for high-end services such as high-speed internet and video conferencing on the mobiles. The defence and communication ministries had entered into an MoU earlier this year, under which DoT would build on alternate network for the armed forces, which in turn would enable the latter to move a bulk of their communication requirements to this network thus freeing up airwaves for commercial telephony . The MoU had also stipulated that the forces will release up to 45 MHz of radio frequencies over a three-year period, of which 25 MHz would for the 3G services and the rest for 2G, the airwaves on which all communications services in the country are currently offered. The MoU also added that the defence forces will release two blocks (10 MHz) of 3G airwaves and one block of 2G frequencies immediately while the remaining would be released over a three-year time frame. Talks between the armed forces and the DoT have reached a stalemate with the latter stating that the communication ministry’s failure to provide an alternate fibre optic cable network for the defence forces in time was the primary reason due to which they were unable to vacate the airwaves. But, DoT secretary P J Thomas in his latest communication to Mr Kumar and Mr Chandrasekhar has said that the telecom commission, the highest decision making body of the DoT, would approve the Rs 10,000 crore project to build this alternate network, during its meet on November 23. It also adds that the DoT will present this proposal to the Union Cabinet by November 26 so that the same can be approved by December 3. “The Optic fibre cable for the defence will be implemented as a mission-mode project with chairman and managing director of BSNL as the mission director and one representative each from the MoD and DoT on the mission team,” the communication said, while adding: “Every month the project will be monitored by secretary (telecom) and senior officers from the defence ministry and the armed forces.” Further assuring the armed forces, Mr Thomas said that the empowered group of ministers (EGoM), headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, would also be requested to monitor this project every quarter. “I have reviewed the time line for completion of this project and have directed BSNL to complete it in 3 years instead of 3-5 years as decided by the GoM,” Mr Thomas added.

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