The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Spectrum support for telecom firms

New Delhi, July 9: The Union communications ministry will seek speedy release of spectrum from the defence ministry to help telecom companies scale up operations and offer more value-added services.

Communications minister Arun Shourie said the wireless advisor is in negotiations with the defence ministry and a solution will soon be found to the problem of spectrum — the radio frequency bandwidth that allows telecom companies to provide their services.

Shourie also said the finance ministry has already supported the move to seek additional spectrum from the defence ministry and has promised to provide the necessary compensation.

“We hope to get about 3 megahertz of spectrum by better co-ordination (with the defence ministry) and another 2.5 megahertz installing filters in signalling equipment, which should be developed indigenously and another 6-10 megahertz through modernisation of the equipment,” said Shourie.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and RailTel today under which both organisations shall meet each other’s requirement of the bandwidth/other services from their network on mutually agreed terms.

There is some good news for CellOne subscribers of BSNL as the company will use the RailTel infrastructure to provide continuous coverage of CellOne along specific sections.

RailTel will also soon sign a commercial agreement with Bharti and Soshacom, a Canada-based company, to offer internet on trains.

BSNL may be given priority by RailTel to provide wireless/GSM PCOs on trains. The telecom public sector company will also provide technical knowhow in designing the telecom network as and when required by RailTel.

The MoU was signed by Prithipal Singh, chairman and managing director of BSNL, and A. K. Chopra, managing director of RailTel. Shourie and railways minister Nitish Kumar were present on the occasion.

Under the provisions of the MoU, the two organisations will not seek equity in each other. They will explore opportunities to lease bandwidth/dark fibre by RailTel on specified routes/sections to BSNL wherever feasible as per BSNL’s requirement on the golden quadrilateral routes connecting the four major metros of Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai and other routes.

BSNL will also examine the feasibility of utilising RailTel’s optical fibre cable (OFC) network for meeting rural telephony requirements. This will be undertaken on available routes/sections already provided by RailTel, to be examined by BSNL for the feasibility of utilising some of these for providing rural telephony by BSNL.

Project execution like laying of OFC and installation of equipment for RailTel can be done by BSNL, on request by RailTel.

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