Friday, May 7, 2010

Defence to get dedicated communication network by 2013

The Armed forces will be able to switch to a dedicated optical fibre network by 2013 which the state-run BSNL will complete by 2012-end paving the way for the Services to release radio waves for commercial use by mobile operators.

BSNL in its status report to the department of telecom and a Parliamentary standing committee has conveyed that the timeline for implementation of the Army and the Navy network is estimated at three years for which the tenders will be finalised by this August and implemented by December 2012.

Radio spectrum is the carrier of voice signals in wireless devices and is key for cellular mobile telephony to operate.

BSNL said it has already completed a similar project for the Air Force which is currently under testing. It added that this network for the Air Force is smaller in scale and size than those of the Army and the Navy. But the bulk of the 45 Mhz spectrum to be vacated will come from the Air Force (42.5MHz).

Total cost of the optical fibre nectowrk for the Army and the Navy is Rs 8,098 crore, while that of Air Force is Rs it was 1,077 crore with the total cost at Rs 9,175.16 crore.

BSNL has been reimbursed for the Air Force project to the extent of Rs 720 crore with the rest to be paid to the PSU in phases, said the report.

Defence with the assurance of getting an alternate communication network under the supersvision of DoT and BSNL would not have to wait till 2013 to release spectrum.

The vacation of radio waves can happen as sought by DoT which could be around this September when the 3G auction winners start rolling out high speed mobile services. Out of the 45Mhz of radio waves to be released by the Armed forces, 25MHz is 3G spectrum.
The Defence forces are major users of spectrum due to the strategic reasons. But the the rapid growth of mobile users has led to the demand for more spectrum. This had led to the government asking BSNL to prepare an alternate network get the defence forces to vacate spectrum keeping the security concerns in mind.

Courtesy: Press Trust of India/ Bussiness Standard

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