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Spectrum issue gets resolved, nine bands reserved for telecom and broadcasting

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NEW DELHI: Resolving an issue that was pending for the past eight years, 31 bands of spectrum have been set aside for telecom and broadcasting. 

According to a cabinet decision, nine out of 49 bands between 3 Mhz to 40 Ghz will be reserved for defence, while a group will be formed to decide on the allocation of the remaining nine bands for other Ministries. 

There will be spectrum swapping with users like defence vacating the ones, which have not been earmarked for them and moving into those reserved for them, following the decision, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

The Cabinet also approved swapping of 15 Megahertz of 3G spectrum between Defence and the Telecom Ministries. However, the government will be able to provide it after completion of the harmonisation process.

“The band in 1700 to 2000 MHz is required to be harmonised. The Cabinet has approved that this harmonisation is to be done in a period of one year,” Prasad said.

The Telecom Ministry has proposed to exchange 15 Mhz spectrum it holds in the 1,900 Mhz band with same quantum of airwaves held by Defence in 2100 Mhz. The 2100 Mhz band is currently used for 3G services.

“Swapping of 15 MHz in the frequency band of 1900 MHz with Telecom has been permitted to be done. Now the swapping will happen but it will take some time,” Prasad added.

The Cabinet has asked the ministries involved in the process to complete harmonisation within a year.

The government has identified that entire spectrum 50 km inside the Indian territory from international border will be classified as Defence Interest Zone.

“The area in 50 km on the border of India is called Defence Interest Zone [DIZ]. In peace time telecom operation that we will do we will inform Defence that this is our infrastructure. In the time of hostility, then those will come under the jurisdiction of Defence,” Prasad said.

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