Expedite decision on availability of spectrum for 3G, WiMAX : TRAI

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New Delhi, Jan 2 (UNI) To step up the slow growth rate of broadband penetration in the country, telecom regulator Trai today said the government needs to expedite its decision regarding mechanism, pricing and availability of spectrum for WiMAX and 3G services.

Trai in letter to the Department of Telecom said government should expedite decision on its recommendations regarding mechanism and pricing of Spectrum for 3G&Broadband Wireless Access.

''Spectrum for 3G&WiMAX should be made available at the earliest to boost the deployment of broadband using these technologies,'' said a statement.

Also, in order to increase the competition to provide broadband in rural areas, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended to identify more than two service providers which seeks the minimum subsidy and with an obligation to rollout the services.

The other important recommendations included increasing the number of KU band transponders to roll out these services through the direct to home direct-to-home (DTH) platform.

BSNL and MTNL should be encouraged to appoint franchisees for providing broadband services to supplement their efforts. Any procedural restrictions or limitations sholud be addressed immediately.

TEC (Telecom Engineering Centre) should undertake certification of different Customer-premises equipment (CPEs) model for interoperability for provisioning of the broadband. All CPEs conforming to specifications for interoperability should be displayed on TEC website for the information of customers.

CPE generally refers to telephones, DSL modems or cable modems, or purchased set-top boxes for use with communication service providers' services.

Trai said incumbents may declare future plans for providing broadband using DSL technology to encourage manufacturing of CPEs within country.

Central Government may take-up with the state governments to adopt uniform Right of Way (RoW) procedures and a district level committee may be formed to study RoW requirement and to take measures to encourage service providers to share ducts.

Trai also suggests that cable TV operators should be encouraged to provide broadband over their network.

Utilisation of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund to provide subsidy for providing broadband services through satellite in remote and hilly areas, should also be considered.

USO funds can also be used to subsidise backhaul charges initially for a period of three years to support the broadband rollout efforts.

Backhaul services allow telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers to aggregate data (such as Internet traffic and phone calls) to a centralised location in a town or region, then connect that location to even bigger sites (hubs) such as Delhi.

Backhaul is important in a competitive market because it allows new carriers to connect customers in places where they do not own their own networks.

The regulator also suggested encouraging municipal committees to include a clause for making buildings broadband ready by adopting suitable internal wiring and giving clearance for the construction of all such buildings in future.

The government has set a target of having two-crore broadband connections by 2010, with the present number being at 30-lakh broadband subscribers.

UNI BJR PBB DS1550

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