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Govt. Looking To Sell Airwaves For Rs 6 Lakh Crore

The Narendra Modi government is aiming to auction telecom spectrum for affordable 5G services including ‘fiber to the home’ internet in rural areas, looking to raise around Rs 6 lakh crore in the process, according to a report in The TOI.

The government will auction around 8600 MHz of mobile airwaves which would include the spectrum for current telecom services and the upcoming 5G services. This plan was passed by the Digital Communication Commission (DCC), the highest decision-making body in telecom.

The DCC asked TRAI, the telecom regulator, to find reasons why previous rounds of auctions were not successful.

“TRAI should revisit its entire recommendations to see whether the current recommendations are in line with the PM’s vision of ensuring ‘broadband for all’, as well as driving in an ‘inclusive and social 5G’,” a top official in the telecom ministry said to the paper.

Aruna Sundararajan, DCC chairperson and the telecom secretary, said if the spectrum is sold at a reserved price the government stands to make Rs 5.8 lakh crore but the government’s idea is not to maximize revenue but to give telecom services to all.

The government also wants to sell the spectrum to non-telecom companies as well to ensure more competition.

The government is trying to ensure that trials are made available to not just telecom operators and equipment providers but also startups and educational institutes, a ministry official told the paper.

The government plans to implement 5G services in rural areas and for that is looking at public-private partnership. It also plans to use 3 lakh common services centers to provide 1 lakh gram panchayat with at least two WiFi hotspots each.―Money Control

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