In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Communications and IT Sanjay Dhotre also said 5G services would be introduced gradually, and will advance to full range of services as the ecosystem and demand for services grow.
Asked whether telcos have urged the government to outline a clear roadmap for spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands, Dhotre said, “Ministry of Communications has started to prepare a spectrum roadmap for next 10 years in consultation with the stakeholders.”
To another question, Dhotre said registration of entities such as Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) and app providers as envisaged under the PM-WANI scheme for proliferation of broadband through public wi-fi, has started from January 7.
The central registry managed by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) is also operational, the minister informed the Upper House.
The Cabinet had approved the scheme for broadband proliferation through public wi-fi networks based on Wireless Access Network Interface (WANI) framework in December, 2020.
Under the scheme, the last mile broadband connectivity will be through a network of public wi-fi access points. The backhaul requirement for these wi-fi access points would be met by internet bandwidth from the telecom operators and internet service providers.
Public Data Office (PDO) would be responsible for establishing, maintaining, and operating WANI compliant wi-fi access points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA), the aggregator of PDOs, would perform the functions relating to authorisation and accounting, while the app provider would enable registration of users and discovering such wi-fi hotspots in the vicinity, and displaying the same within the app for accessing the internet service.
Dhotre also said the timelines for the BharatNet project — which was expected to be completed by August 2021 — would get extended as the pace of completion has been affected by lockdown and restrictions on movement imposed by various governments due to COVID-19.