THE INDIAN Broadcasting Federation, the main industry body of TV broadcasters in the country, has expressed concerns that allocation of spectrum in bands they currently operate to telecom companies for 5G services will severely hurt the sector.
In a March 5 letter to the Cabinet Secretary, the Niti Aayog CEO, secretaries of DoT and I&B, and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Technology, IBF said it had recently learned the government was discussing the possibility of earmarking spectrum not just in the 3,400 MHz to 3,800 MHz band, but even beyond 4,000 GHz for 5G services by telecom operators.
The broadcasters were worried this will impact them directly as they use spectrum in the 3,700 MHz to 4,200 MHz band. More than 600 licensed satellite channels operate in this band. Fearing eviction from the band they have been using for decades, the broadcasters sought urgent intervention of the government.
“This step will dislodge the broadcasting sector completely,” an industry player said.
It said that as per NFAP (National Frequency Allocation Plan) 2018, the 3,300 MHz to 3,600 MHz band was earmarked for 4G and 5G services. It expressed concern that NFAP 2018 is now proposed to be revised post-haste to include new bands for 5G use by the Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing of the DoT, wherein bands from 3,400 MHz to 3,800 MHz or even beyond till 4,000 MHz may be earmarked for 5G services.
It noted that the DoT has already constituted a committee under the Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing (WPC) for it.
The broadcasters wrote that if any spectrum beyond 3,600 MHz is allocated for 5G services, “it will lead to serious disruption of satellite services for media and broadcast in the 3,700 MHz to 4,200 MHz band”. The letter stressed that “simultaneous use of the band by satellite and terrestrial 5G services is not possible”.