Telcos ask for additional spectrum to manage network congestion amid lockdown

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 28, 2020

DoT has asked telecom players to submit their requirement for both access and backhaul spectrum needs to Wireless Planning Commission

Telecom operators in India have requested for additional spectrum allocation from the Department of Telecom(DoT) for in order to manage the increasing load on networks in light of the 21-day lockdown mandating people to stay at home according to media reports.

The DoT has asked telecom players to submit their requirement for both access and backhaul spectrum needed to meet the increasing load on networks to the Wireless Planning Commission, the report said.

Additional spectrum allocation may help ease network congestion caused by increased consumption as people across the country have been mandated to work from home in a bid to curb the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.

Key stakeholders in the industry including authorities, telecom players as well as media giants have taken measures to prevent network congestion in order to assure better internet services across the country.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had urged streaming services last week to lessen their burden on internet pipelines in order to avoid network congestion.

“We believe that during this critical time, it is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs to manage traffic distribution patterns which are likely to strain network infrastructure at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements,” COAI said in its letter to OTT platforms, according to media reports.

On March 25, digital players including Netflix, Google, Disney and Facebook had decided to immediately adopt measures to minimize traffic on networks. This included temporarily defaulting HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offering only SD content.

Earlier this week, Bharti Airtel had also suggested that all telecom operators should come together to provide uninterrupted services, as towers in certain circles could be shut down following the lockdown.

Airtel’s suggestion included invoking the Standard Operating Procedure-17 (SOP-17) protocol for responding to disasters. Under the protocol, issued by the Department of Telecommunications, all telco players would operate as a unified network and will have to put in place various measures, including intra-circle roaming (ICR) agreements.

Published on March 28, 2020

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