Telcos: Tech cos oppose DCC call on E band allotment to telcos

Broadband, tech and WiFi players will shortly write to the government, pointing out that the Digital Communications Commission’s (DCC) recent decision backing allocation of premium `E band’ airwaves exclusively to mobile carriers via the administrative route is in direct conflict with the sector regulator’s position to open up this spectrum band.

“E band spectrum (in 71-76 Ghz & 81-86 Ghz ranges) must be offered all-inclusively in a technology-neutral and service-neutral manner to all categories of broadband/WiFi players, and so, any move to give away these airwaves administratively to mobile carriers exclusively would be in conflict with Trai’s August 2014 recommendation of opening up the E-spectrum band…we strongly support Trai’s position and will represent appropriately to the government,” T V Ramachandran, president, Broadband India Forum (BIF), told ET.

Last week, the DCC, the highest decision-making body of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), accepted Trai’s recommendations on base prices of 5G airwaves. Among other key decisions it has backed need-based, circle-wise allocation of E-band spectrum to telcos initially via the administrative route, with a rider that telcos would have to pay for these airwaves in future based on an auction-based pricing mechanism determined by the regulator.

Ramachandran said “any proposal to initially allocate E-band spectrum administratively, subject to payment based on an auction-based pricing mechanism determined in future, would only create uncertainty and undermine the business case of large-scale broadband network deployments in India”.

Industry think-tank BIF represents broadband/WiFi players, satellite operators, global tech majors, startups and top academic institutions. Cisco, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, OneWeb, Hughes, Facebook-owner Meta, Qualcomm and Intel are its key members.

The broadband forum wants E-band spectrum to be opened up, in line with Trai’s earlier recommendation, as…


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