Technology for MSMEs: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Monday announced offering the 5G test bed facility for use free of cost to the government-recognised MSMEs and startups up to January 2024, extending it by a year from January 2023. The government in August last year had announced the free use of the test bed for six months up to January this year to boost the 5G ecosystem in India and achieve the objectives of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India.
Test bed in software testing is referred to a controlled environment for testing softwares by developers testing their modules without any impact on live servers.
The DoT noted that all 5G stakeholders viz., industry, academia, service providers, R&D institutions, government bodies, equipment manufacturers etc., can also utilise this facility but at a “very nominal rate”. “This is being announced to encourage usage of the test bed and give a fillip to the development of indigenous technologies/ products in line with Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision. Several startups and companies are already using the test bed for testing their products and services,” DoT said in a statement.
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The department had approved a financial grant of Rs 224 crore in March 2018 to set up the test bed and facilitate 5G adoption in India. The test bed facility was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
While CEWiT offers an end-to-end test bed with various testing services for RAN Level, PHY Level etc., and other test equipment, IIT Hyderabad provides for gNB Testing, UE Testing, end-to-end interoperability testing and NB-IoT testing. On the other hand, IISc Bangalore hosts the V2X and 5G open-source test bed, IIT Kanpur hosts the base-band test bed and IIT Delhi hosts the NB-IoT and VLC test bed, DoT said.
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“The test bed provides the facilities of 5G networks for experimenting and demonstrating applications/use cases of importance to Indian society like rural broadband, smart city applications and intelligent transport system (ITS),” it added.
Importantly, the DoT had tweeted in June last year that 43 startups and MSMEs were approved for a grant of more than Rs 50 crore to develop technologies such as 5G core, RAN, NMS, IMS, chipsets, devices, and ICT solutions and applications for roll out of 5G services in the country.
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