- GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Parliamentary Committee and 5G
Context: A standing committee of Lok Sabha on Information Technology has submitted its report on 5G and said that India will miss the 5G bus.
What are the findings of the parliamentary standing committee on IT?
- Little Progress on ground: Despite the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) having submitted a report on the steps to make India 5G ready as early as August 2018, there was very little progress on the ground.
- High Spectrum Prices: the reserve price for auction of 5G was one of the highest in the world. It needed to be rationalised, taking into account the per capita income of the country and also by comparing it with reserve price mandated by other countries.
- Inadequate and poor development of test cases: Globally, as many as 118 telecom service providers across 59 countries have started deploying 5G networks. India is yet to give formal approvals for 5G testing despite all the three major private telecom players having submitted their applications as early as January 2020.
- Delayed rollout of 5G: Comparing it to the deployment of other older technologies such as 2G, on which it was late by four years, 3G on which India was as much as a decade late, and 4G on which India missed by the bus by 7 years, the committee concluded that “sufficient preparatory work had not been undertaken for launching of 5G services in India.”
- Low reach of optical fibre across India, and deficient back-haul capacity are other factors which is delaying the deployment of 5G in India.
- Not all hope is lost as far as the roll out of 5G in India is concerned
- Even before the findings of the parliamentary committee were made public, the DoT had, in a bid to facilitate faster roll out of new services, reduced the notice period for telcos to six months from one year.
- A reduced time would mean that telcos could as soon as September this year start testing the 5G network for commercial purposes in all three bands, namely low, mid and high frequency spectrum
- Apart from this, the parliamentary committee also hoped that the DoT would reach an understanding with the Department of Space and Ministry of Defence at the earliest to earmark the allocation of spectrum waves.
Connecting the dots: