Spectrum crunch is forcing the Department of Telecom (DoT) to think wire-line. The DoT has asked non commercial users of spectrum such as Defence agencies to shift their communication links from wireless to wire-line mode wherever optic fibre cable is available.
According to DoT sources steps have been taken to make available optic fibre cable to non-commercial users through Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's nationwide network. The DoT is also asking private cellular operators to make more use of fibre cables wherever possible, as for instance, when connecting base stations to mobile switching centre or for connecting mobile towers. They added that there was no compulsion on any operator to use cables. Mobile operators across the country are facing severe shortage of radio frequency affecting the quality of service. While the DoT is preparing a detailed spectrum policy, which would facilitate release of additional spectrum for operators, it has run into rough weather with the Defence agencies demanding adequate compensation. Defence forces are the largest users of spectrum. The DoT had earlier admitted to the Parliamentary standing committee on IT about lack of planning while allocating spectrum to telecom service providers in the past. At present mobile operators in the country use the 1800 Mhz, 800 Mhz and the 900 Mhz band for offering services. These frequency bands are also being used by the Defence agencies, which are making it difficult for the DoT to release additional spectrum in the same band for mobile usage.