The department of telecommunications (DoT) has asked about two dozen television broadcasters and business data transmission service providers to vacate a high frequency band they use to link to satellites.
It wants to reassign this frequency to broadband wireless service providers who will be using a new technology, WiMAX
The companies asked to move to a different frequency band include SunTV, TV Today Network, and regional broadcasters such as Eenadu TV, besides data service providers Essel Shyam, Comnet, Satyam Infoway and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL).
The broadcasters have termed the six-week deadline they have been given by DoT to shift to another frequency tight, but said that there would be no operational or financial implications.
“If we have to shift to another frequency, not only do we need the approval of DoT, but we also have to talk to satellite companies to see which frequencies are available,” said the head of operations at one TV channel on the condition of anonymity.
Broadcasters use the frequency while linking to satellites, that, in turn, broadcast their signals back to cable operators. The data service providers use the satellites to help companies transmit or share data.
Other companies that use satellites to transmit data such as the department of space and the World Bank’s New Delhi office have also been asked to shift to higher frequency bands.
According to a source in the government’s wireless planning committee, a body that oversees allocation of frequencies to different users, the DoT move is linked to a policy on wireless broadband services it will soon release.
The frequency these companies and institutions use overlaps that recommended by the telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), for wireless broadband services.
“Thereafter,even if any interference (in broadcasting and data transmission) is observed by the operations from broadband services (including WiMAX systems) in this band, it will have to be accepted,” read a directive dated 16 January from M.K. Rao, assistant wireless advisor to the government.
WiMAX is an emerging wireless broadband technology that its proponents claim delivers data speeds of up to 40mbps, nearly 80 times the capacity of a typical 512kbps broadband connection delivered on copper wire or cable TV networks.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, VSNL and Chennai-based Aircel have started rolling out WiMAX services in different cities.