2 min read.Updated: 09 Jun 2021, 03:51 PM ISTTamal Nandi
'The purpose of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) for Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications,' according to a statement by the Ministry of Railways
The Union Cabinet today approved 5 MHz in 700 MHz frequency band to Indian Railways for public safety and security services at stations, trains , public safety and security services at stations and in trains. "The purpose of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) for Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications," according to a statement by the Ministry of Railways. It will be used for modern signalling and train protection systems and ensure seamless communication between loco pilots and guards.
“This decision of the government will contribute significantly to the modernization of the railway communication infrastructure, improving the safety of travel and also the quality of signalling for operations. The recommendations of TRAI in 2019, seems to have been accepted with the spectrum being allocated specifically for captive usage and not commercial use, with a royalty charge and license fee applicability payable to the Department of Telecommunications. Therefore, the wi-fi enhancement capabilities for end customers will not be a focus for now, however, the implementation of safer and faster journeys, resulting in increased revenues." said Tony Verghese, Partner, J Sagar Associates.
Here is how the government is planning to make the journey in Indian Railways more safe and secure:
Indian Railways has envisaged to provide LTE based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its route with this spectrum. The estimated investment in the project is more than Rs. 25,000 Crore. The project will be completed in the next 5 years.
Indian Railways has approved TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System), an indigenously developed ATP (Automatic Train Protection) System, which will help in avoiding train collisions thereby reducing accidents and ensuring passenger safety.
It brings a strategic shift in Railways’ operations and maintenance regime. It will help in improving the safety and increasing the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure. The modern rail network will result in reduced transportation cost and higher efficiency. Also, it will attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfill the ‘Make in India’ mission and generate employment.
It will also enable Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring especially of coaches, wagons & locos, and live video feed of CCTV cameras in the train coaches to ensure efficient, safer and faster train operations.
The Spectrum charges may be levied based on formula basis as prescribed by Department of Telecommunications for Royalty Charges and License Fee for Captive use as recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.