Government's move to free up 5 GHz spectrum boosts Wi-Fi hotspots in India

BIF said that the move also increases the Wi-Fi capacity for indoor usage from 300 MHz to 605 MHz.

The government's move to free up spectrum in 5 GHz frequency band has increased the availability of radiowaves for Wi-Fi services by about 12-folds and would push proliferation Internet zones in the country, think-tank body Broadband India Forum said 23 October.

The Department of Telecom on 22 October notified to delicense 605 M of spectrum in 5G band which means anyone can use the airwaves for wifi or any other telecom services possible in this frequency range without paying for it.

Representational Image

Representational Image

"Making the total capacity to almost 12 times the existing capacity of around 50 megahertz (MHz) for outdoor usage, the notification will help in removing one of the major barriers cited for creation of hotspots, the lack of availability of sufficient unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum," Broadband India Forum said in a statement.

BIF said that the move also increases the capacity for indoor usage from 300 MHz to 605 MHz.

"With the availability of 605 MHz of delicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz band additionally, the number of hotspots would help bridge the existing huge digital divide," the statement said.

The action from the wireless planning commission wing of the DoT follows the recommendation made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to delicense certain sets of the frequency range in 5 GHz band.

"This single measure would pave the way for boosting broadband penetration in the country, which is currently below global benchmarks," BIF President TV Ramachandran said.

He said that based on the global benchmark average of one public wifi hotspot for every 150 persons, India should have approximately 8 Million hotspots, however, the total number of hotspots in India as per TRAI report is only 31,500.

The National Digital Communications Policy 2018 has targeted the creation of 50 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots by 2020 and 1 crore by 2022.

"This move by the Department along with other related measures for liberalising the public Wi-Fi ecosystem will translate into a significant increase in broadband penetration and the uptake of broadband-enabled services and applications throughout the country," the statement said.

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