One of the important provisions of the Communication Convergence Bill
refers to the policies regarding Frequency Spectrum Management covered
under Chapter VI.
Spectrum Management refers to the management of the "Radio Frequency
Band" and is the combination of administrative and technical procedures
necessary to ensure the efficient operation of radio communication services.
Radio Frequency Spectrum and satellite orbits including geostationary satellite
orbits are scarce natural resource, susceptible to harmful interference
and is international in character since radio waves cannot be confined
to national boundaries. Like any other natural resource it cannot be owned
but shared amongst various countries, services, users, technologies, etc.
Assignment of frequencies is governed by international treaty formulated
under the aegis of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which is
signed and ratified by Government of India. Further, this is also subject
to various other international agreements entered into with other countries.
In accordance with international treaty all frequency bands are shared
by all countries for different types of radio communication services and
there are no exclusive frequency allocations for a particular service,
country, user or organisation.
Accordingly, the frequencies are shared by various organisations like
Defence, Police, Intelligence and other Security agencies, Public Telecommunications,
Broadcasting, Railways, Public Utility Organisations, Oil and Electricity
Grids, Atomic Energy, Mining and Steel, Shipping and Airlines, and so on,
for variety of applications including aeronautical and maritime safety
communications, radars, seismic surveys, rocket and satellite launching,
earth exploration, natural calamities forecasting etc. A frequency which
is being used in one place by private operator may be used by a Government
agency for some other purpose in another place leading to the frequency
reuse on spatial basis.
With the proliferation of new technologies being inducted in to the
country, the demand on spectrum by users has increased manifold. Modern
telecommunication technologies rely heavily on radio communications. Newer
and newer radio communication services, technologies and applications are
emerging on the horizon with tremendous speed, further exponentially increasing
the demands on the already congested radio frequency spectrum.
Thus, spectrum is the most fundamental, but at the same time, a highly
scarce resource which is essential for development of all radio based telecommunication
services.Therefore, efficient spectrum management needs to be the art and
science of carefully planning spectrum allocation in a coordinated manner
without compromising national interests and then speedily and efficiently
assigning frequencies for the benefit of users at large and with minimum
scope of harmful interference.
All the NATO countries and several NATO allies have adopted the ‘NATO
Band’ for their defence requirements of the spectrum. The non-‘NATO Band’
therefore accommodates most of the commercial / public service telecom
in those countries. Several countries, including India, have not adopted
the ‘NATO Band’ for their Defence spectrum requirements. In view of this,
the cost-effective commercial equipment bought by India from these countries
fall in the non-‘NATO Band’, a good part of which overlaps the Indian Defence
Spectrum bands. It is this important factor which has resulted in major
contentions of the commercial public telecom services with the already
occupied defence spectrum bands.
Added to this, is the fact that Indian defence also buys a sizeable
part of this telecom/radar and avionics equipment requirements from both
NATO countries and non-NATO countries. These factors have resulted in major
spectral constraints, in the bands allotted to defence.
Also, there are applications where, in effect, 'fences' can be built
around electro-magnetic 'spaces'. By so controlling both the performance
characteristics and placement/operation of radio equipment, the concept
of the spectrum, as an economic resource, can be conceived similar to real
estate - it is occupied, but not consumed or depleted by its users. Scarcity
results from the occupation of a channel/band/window by one operator
by preventing others from using the same channel/band/window at the
same time. As in real estates, the usable quantity of the resources can
be expanded with additional capital investment like sky-scrappers
creating more space on a given part of the land - through
such methods as channel splitting, innovative modulation
techniques, spread spectrum, etc. Viewed in terms of this limited analogy,
equipment standards are analogous to architecture and
separation rules with power limits are analogous
to 'fences' separating the parts of the land.
The Communication Convergence Bill envisages that the Spectrum Management
Responsibilities would be entrusted to a "Spectrum Management Committee"
with the cabinet secretary as its Chairman and consisting of such other
memebrs as may be notified from time to time. The Central Government will
also notiffy one of its officers as the "Spectrum Manager, Government of
India" to act as Member Secretary to the Spectrum Mangement Committee.
1.Co ordinate with Internationa Agencies
2.Carry out Spectrum Planning and allocate frequencies
3.Monitor, Review and Re allocate Frequencies.
Additionally, the Spectrum Mangement Committee may have to decide
on "Pricing" of the Spectrum including allocation of "Free Spectrum" for
some public utilitiies, the manner of allocation including :Auctioning"
etc. The Committee will also have to consider the security aspects and
policies to ensure protection of national interests. It may also be necessary
for the Committee to lay down policies on Standards, Specifications, and