Making broadband affordable for all
“Wireless communication is plagued by a shortage of space for new services. As the new regions of the radio spectrum have been opened to practical operation, commerce and industry have found more than enough uses to crowd them.”
Uniquely, India has more than 96% wireless connections and only less than 4% fixed telephone lines. We have the second-largest number of mobile phones in the world, operating on scarce licensed spectrum. We also have around the highest number of TV channels, and also cabled, DTH and normal terrestrial TVs. We are now aspiring to become the largest broadband country, which will predominately need to work on scarce spectrum. The problem is further complicated by the spectrum being inefficiently distributed to a large number of operators. The story does not end here.
We sit in a region with external and internal terrorism, thus necessitating huge amounts of spectrum to be allotted to security forces, who also have inefficient and outdated equipment, guzzling spectrum. Anyone would think that the statement at the start of this piece was written for Indian spectrum management today. Surprisingly, the statement was made in a report of the 1952 United States Joint Technical Advisory Committee. The spectrum shortage was felt when colour TVs were launched in the US;
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