“Given the difficulty in laying optical fibre networks in hilly and mountainous terrains, our focus is on the use of technologies that can accelerate development and bridge this divide, like using E-band wireless carriers, LEO and MEO satellite connectivity, among others. We have issued the first service licence for LEO/MEO connectivity and hope to harness the technology to enable digital inclusion in remote areas,” Chauhan said.
Telecom players have been demanding the allocation of E and V band spectrum through auctions, while other potential users have opposed auctioning of these bands.
The minister said that affordable broadband accessibility is the essence of digital inclusion.
“Developing 5G test bed, indigenous 4G and 5G stack, development of Indian 5G standards and setting up of 6G innovation forum are the initiatives to reduce cost, facilitate faster 5G spread in rural area and eliminate dependency on a specific vendor,” the minister said.
He said that a fully indigenous 5G test bed, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been developed through a academia-industry partnership at a cost of USD 30 million.
“This facility is part of large 5G ecosystem of India. A consortium of top quality domestic technical institutions have developed the 5G Core, radio access networks and many other 5G use case systems including smart energy meters etc. These solutions have been licensed to industry and the 5G test bed will facilitate testing of other 5G equipment and solutions developed by Indian designers and developers,” Chauhan said. He said that India is developing fully indigenous 5G mobile communications technology and have taken steps to develop 6G technology in future.
“Our premier research institution Centre for Development of Telematics (CDOT) will roll out a 5G NSA Core by August 2022. C-DOT has already tested and demonstrated an indigenously developed 4G Core and 4G radio access networks,” the minister said.