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DCC Clears Proposal To Allocate Spectrum Without Auction For Non-Commercial Use

The Digital Communications Commission (DCC), an inter-ministerial panel under the telecom ministry, approved proposal to develop a framework to allocate spectrum to entities without auction for non-commercial and captive usage.

The move will ease spectrum allocation to government agencies like railways, defence, department of space, public utility entities, as well as others like metro rails, Doordarshan, All India Radio etc, for discharge of sovereign functions that are non-commercial in nature.

Digital Communications Commission (DCC) chairperson and telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the spectrum for mobile service access will continue to be given through auction route only.

“We have been doing this (administrative allocation of spectrum) but there isn’t a clearly laid down policy. Now we have attempted to come with a set of principle,” Sundararajan said.

She said the framework will be developed by the Department of Telecom and may need to get approval of the Union Cabinet for the same.

“First in the interest of transparency there will be public portal where all the spectrum available will be known to all the agencies. Then there will be frequent audit of spectrum so that we ensure that nobody is squatting on spectrum, assignment will be done within a period etc,” Sundararajan said.

The framework will also cover captive usage of backhaul spectrum as well allocated on link-to-link basis, she said.

When asked if it comprises E and V band spectrum, in which data can be transmitted with speed of 1 gigabit per second, Sundararajan said that a broad decision has been taken and not as per spectrum band.

“We have not looked at specific band. On each band separate decision will be obtained from TRAI on the pricing, allocation etc. this is broad set of principle and most for sovereign functions,” she said.

Besides this, the DCC approved selection of auctioneer for the next round of proposed spectrum auction which will also have radiowaves for 5G services.

The panel also discussed TRAI recommendation on number series for internet telephony that it should be similar to fixed line connections and decided against it.

“We have decided to allocate number series for internet telephony on circle level. It will be similar to mobile numbers and will have larger flexibility,” DoT member (technology) Shiwa Shankar Singh said.

The DCC has also allowed Virtual Network Operators to sell services of multiple operators instead of only one partner allowed at present.―The Hindu Business Line

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