Move to free up 5G spectrum brings 12-fold increase in WiFi hotspots

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

The Department of Telecom on Monday notified to delicense 605 MHz of spectrum in 5GHz band which means anyone can use the airwaves for wifi or any other telecom services possible in this frequency range without paying for it. "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 delicensed Wi-Fi spectrum," Broadband India Forum (BIF) 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 recommendation made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to delicense certain sets of 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 (NDCP) 2018 has targeted 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 wifi ecosystem will translate into significant increase in broadband penetration and the uptake of broadband-enabled services and applications throughout the country," the statement said.

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