Utilisation of ‘white space’ spectrum may have to wait

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Published: December 16, 2015 1:21:39 AM

The government may not be able to use the huge quantum of unused ‘white space’ spectrum for expanding broadband coverage in rural areas, at least for the next four or five years.

The government may not be able to use the huge quantum of unused ‘white space’ spectrum for expanding broadband coverage in rural areas, at least for the next four or five years.

Top government sources told FE the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has not internationally ratified the 470-698 MHz spectrum band for commercial use, citing differences between countries. Late last month, representatives from India led by officials from the department of telecommunications (DoT) at the World Radio Communication Conference (WRC) in Geneva had pitched for inclusion of White Space Spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) service area.

But ITU said that the white space spectrum is a bit premature for use and lacked international acceptance, dashing hopes, at least for now, for the Indian government for judiciously using this band of spectrum for broadband expansion.

Sources revealed that developing an ecosystem for white space spectrum and enhancing existing telecom networks using this band could take at least four to five years from now. An official pointed out that when ITU decides to allocate white space spectrum for mobile services for Asia, the DoT will pitch for it and will then use it for its wireless broadband services.

The government had planned to use white space spectrum to bridge connectivity in rural areas and is considered as a major tool to fill in the gaps for mobile network across deep rural population in the country. Additionally, white space spectrum is meant to propagate high-speed internet services through mobiles in India.

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