Na­tional Tele­com Pol­icy 2018: Will it be an in­dus­try lev­eller?

The In­dian tele­com in­dus­try is nav­i­gat­ing through trou­bled wa­ters and fac­ing con­sid­er­able fi­nan­cial dis­tress. It is hop­ing that the new Na­tional Tele­com Pol­icy, which is about to be an­nounced, will ac­cept most of the rec­om­men­da­tions made by in­dus­try leade

Electronics Bazaar - - Contents - By Ra­jan S. Mathews (di­rec­tor gen­eral, Cel­lu­lar Op­er­a­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia)

Tech­nol­ogy is bring­ing about a par­a­digm shift in the way we ac­cess in­for­ma­tion and in­ter­act with things. And, as tech­nol­ogy ad­vances, the pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment must also evolve in order to keep pace with the chang­ing times. Pre­vi­ous poli­cies need to be re-eval­u­ated, which is why the new Na­tional Tele­com Pol­icy (NTP) 2018, which is about to be an­nounced, must bring about ma­jor changes, both to ad­dress the cur­rent ma­jor chal­lenges that the in­dus­try faces, as well as to pro­vide a strong foun­da­tion for the tele­com in­dus­try.

The In­dian gov­ern­ment has been re­vis­ing its tele­com pol­icy from time to time, to keep up with the rapid changes in tech­nol­ogy and con­sumer de­mand pat­terns. NTP 1994 opened up the sec­tor to com­pe­ti­tion and helped in es­tab­lish­ing goals, in­clud­ing pro­vi­sion­ing of tele­phone-on-de­mand and con­nect­ing all vil­lages by 1997. It set the stage for long dis­tance tele­phony.

Next came NTP 1999, which laid out a plan to achieve the goal of In­ter­net ac­cess for all dis­trict head­quar­ters (DHQs) by the year 2000, and high speed data to towns with a pop­u­la­tion of 200,000 and above by 2002. The tar­get for over­all tele­den­sity was 7 per cent by 2005—ru­ral tele­den­sity of 4 per cent and a pro­jected tar­get of 15 per cent by 2010. This was fol­lowed by the 2004 Broad­band Pol­icy that de­fined broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity as an ‘al­wayson’ data con­nec­tion with the min­i­mum down­load speed of 256Kbps.

Com­ing to the rec­om­men­da­tions for NTP 2018, in­dus­try lead­ers have been sug­gest­ing for some time that the De­part­ment of Tele­com (DoT) needs to bring about fun­da­men­tal re­forms in its new tele­com pol­icy, such as re­duc­ing li­cence fees, spec­trum us­age charges and other levies to make the sec­tor vi­able once again from an in­vest­ment per­spec­tive. In the cur­rent regime, the tele­com op­er­a­tors pay around 8 per cent of ad­justed gross rev­enue (AGR) as li­cence fee and an­other 3 per cent of AGR as spec­trum us­age charges (SUC).

The gov­ern­ment is fo­cus­ing on en­sur­ing ac­cess and ser­vices to one bil­lion peo­ple, which is in­deed, the need of the hour. How­ever, the in­dus­try cur­rently has a cu­mu­la­tive debt of over `5 tril­lion, as it has in­vested over ` 10 tril­lion af­ter it was opened up to the pri­vate sec­tor. For an en­hanced user ex­pe­ri­ence, bridg­ing the dig­i­tal di­vide, in­creas­ing ru­ral pen­e­tra­tion and of­fer­ing seam­less con­nec­tiv­ity, an­other ` 3 tril­lion needs to be in­vested over a pe­riod of two to three years. The fi­nan­cial health and vi­a­bil­ity of the sec­tor, there­fore, should be the main pri­or­ity for the gov­ern­ment—not just from an in­dus­try per­spec­tive but also from a con­sumer stand­point. The poor­est of the poor can truly ben­e­fit from the JAM (Jan Dhan Yo­jana,

Aad­haar and mo­bile num­ber) trin­ity, which should en­sure fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion through greater In­ter­net ac­cess.

The in­dus­try crossed the 1.7 mil­lion base trans­ceiver sta­tion (BTS) mark this year, an im­por­tant mile­stone to im­prove pen­e­tra­tion and en­sure the faster roll­out of in­fra­struc­ture for ru­ral con­sumers. Fur­ther in­ter­ven­tion is now nec­es­sary, to also im­prove In­dia’s rankings across sev­eral ‘Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness’ pa­ram­e­ters.

Sim­i­larly, there is a need to es­tab­lish a Spec­trum Man­age­ment Pol­icy so that the ma­jor points of con­tention are dealt with ef­fi­ciently. This will al­low the tele­com sec­tor to plan and use na­tional re­sources op­ti­mally. More­over, the ser­vice providers should also be per­mit­ted ac­cess to the satel­lite spec­trum for any ap­pli­ca­tion, i.e., VSAT, Di­rect to Home (DTH), tele­port or any other type of tele­com ser­vice. The sec­tor is also de­mand­ing a sin­gle uni­fied li­cence across the coun­try, whereby ev­ery ser­vice provider of­fer­ing the same ser­vice must ad­here to the same rules.

Other rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude en­sur­ing data pri­vacy, net­work se­cu­rity, man­u­fac­tur­ing and skills de­vel­op­ment, etc. Strength­en­ing the sec­tor and cre­at­ing an in­vestor-friendly busi­ness ecosys­tem need to be at the top of the gov­ern­ment’s list of pri­or­i­ties. Manoj Sinha, min­is­ter of state for com­mu­ni­ca­tions and IT has talked about these is­sues at var­i­ous pub­lic plat­forms, for which the in­dus­try is truly in­debted. Go­ing by the efforts and time put in by the gov­ern­ment, the in­dus­try is hop­ing for im­me­di­ate and sus­tained re­lief for the sec­tor through NTP 2018. The DoT is also look­ing at in­cen­tivis­ing in­vest­ments in the tele­com sec­tor, which has been reel­ing un­der fi­nan­cial stress. It is also es­ti­mated that two mil­lion new jobs will be cre­ated in the ICT sec­tor by 2022.

Many be­lieve that the new NTP will be a pre­cur­sor to cre­at­ing an ICT pol­icy. The fo­cus will pri­mar­ily be on cre­at­ing in­fra­struc­ture and build­ing net­works. The Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity of In­dia (TRAI) has even gone ahead and sug­gested that the lat­est pol­icy doc­u­ment be named the In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy Pol­icy-2018.

The gov­ern­ment is keen on pro­vid­ing a mas­sive im­pe­tus to the In­ter­net of Things (IoT) and to pro­grammes in the ma­chineto-ma­chine (M2M) space, in ad­di­tion to at­tract­ing in­vest­ments worth US$ 100 bil­lion in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor. The TRAI has rec­om­mended that these am­bi­tious ob­jec­tives can be re­alised by low­er­ing li­cence fees and spec­trum charges, by im­ple­ment­ing the ‘one na­tion one li­cence’ plan for ser­vices, and by mak­ing funds avail­able for com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture projects on the same lines as road­ways and rail­ways.

The new pol­icy should there­fore look at en­abling so­cioe­co­nomic growth in order to make In­dia a front-run­ner in what peo­ple re­fer to as the Fourth In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion. There is a lot of pos­i­tiv­ity around the new tele­com pol­icy, and we will have to wait and see how the sec­tor trans­forms it­self in the com­ing years.

Fu­tur­is­tic tech­nolo­gies that are on the anvil also need to come un­der the purview of the new tele­com pol­icy. For ex­am­ple, the 5G net­work is pre­dicted to ac­com­mo­date ap­pli­ca­tions and ser­vices with dif­fer­ent la­tency, re­li­a­bil­ity and band­width. For that to hap­pen, we would need ef­fec­tive net­work man­age­ment prac­tices to en­sure op­ti­mised shar­ing of net­work re­sources. Tech­nolo­gies like soft­ware de­fined net­works (SDN) and net­work func­tion vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion (NFV) can be im­ple­mented for ef­fec­tive shar­ing of the net­work to sup­port the 5G use cases. Var­i­ous net­work func­tions such as net­work slic­ing (a mo­bile con­tent de­liv­ery net­work as ser­vice) can be im­ple­mented through these tech­nolo­gies to sup­port var­i­ous 5G use cases. The gov­ern­ment needs to come out with a pol­icy to en­sure that these tech­no­log­i­cal ini­tia­tives and in­no­va­tions are fa­cil­i­tated, and are not ham­pered by ar­chaic poli­cies or ob­struc­tive and ir­rel­e­vant so­lu­tions.

We whole­heart­edly praise the ob­jec­tives and the strate­gies put for­ward in the rec­om­men­da­tions made by TRAI, and we hope that a level play­ing field and reg­u­la­tion-driven equal­ity will be sus­tained amongst var­i­ous play­ers. The tele­com sec­tor is mov­ing into a phase of con­sol­i­da­tion, a par­a­digm shift from the highly frag­mented struc­ture that has ex­isted for sev­eral years. As the merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions are com­pleted, we will see three or four large play­ers com­pet­ing against each other. This will re­sult in con­tin­u­ing af­ford­abil­ity of voice and data tar­iffs for the con­sumer.

The in­dus­try is call­ing for a sta­ble en­vi­ron­ment, in which tele­com op­er­a­tors can sus­tain them­selves enough to in­vest cash into their busi­nesses and work to­gether with the gov­ern­ment to con­nect over one bil­lion peo­ple to the In­ter­net. A re­port sug­gests that a 10 per cent in­crease in broad­band pen­e­tra­tion leads to a 1 per cent growth in GDP. So achiev­ing this is mis­sion-crit­i­cal if In­dia is to meet the gov­ern­ment’s am­bi­tious goal of be­com­ing a tril­lion dol­lar dig­i­tal econ­omy, apart from im­ple­ment­ing sev­eral other vi­sion­ary pro­grammes of the prime min­is­ter like Dig­i­tal In­dia, Skill In­dia, etc.

We also hope that the Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST) coun­cil looks into re­duc­ing the ap­pli­ca­ble tax on the sec­tor to 12 per cent, from the cur­rent 18 per cent, a move that even the min­is­ter of state for com­mu­ni­ca­tions and IT, Manoj Sinha, has sup­ported. Is­sues such as re­dun­dant pro­cesses like mul­ti­ple au­dits, and reg­u­la­tions like the in­creased im­port duty on net­work equip­ment to help do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing, must be aban­doned, once and for all.

The in­dus­try is ar­dently ask­ing for the gov­ern­ment to build a sta­ble, pre­dictable and friendly reg­u­la­tory and pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment. We are pos­i­tive that the new pol­icy will take the as­pi­ra­tions of a bil­lion In­di­ans and the sub­mis­sions of the core sec­tor into con­sid­er­a­tion. This will pro­vide a fa­cil­i­ta­tive ecosys­tem that fos­ters the growth and de­vel­op­ment of the sec­tor, mak­ing In­dia a fully con­nected and truly em­pow­ered na­tion.

to grow at record rates while fac­ing in­nu­mer­able new chal­lenges. Ad­vanced devel­op­ments in Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, RFID and Blue­tooth have led to more com­plex prob­lems caused by EMI, and hence more op­por­tu­ni­ties for EMI shield­ing de­sign­ers to solve them. Al­most all of to­day’s power elec­tron­ics sys­tems are built with EMI filtering cir­cuits or in­clude in­ter­nal EMI fil­ters.

EMI shield­ing in the auto in­dus­try

The need for EMI shield­ing is un­doubt­edly in­creas­ing within the fast-chang­ing au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, too, across the globe. On­board GPS nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems, Blue­tooth ca­pa­bil­i­ties, touch­screen en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems and hands­free fea­tures have de­liv­ered a new level of driver con­ve­nience, while also cre­at­ing more chal­lenges re­lated to un­wanted EMI.

The more ad­vanced the elec­tron­ics in a ve­hi­cle be­comes, es­pe­cially for the sys­tems re­lated to en­gine per­for­mance, the more crit­i­cal is the need for ef­fec­tive EMI shield­ing. So auto man­u­fac­tur­ers are now ap­proach­ing EMI shield­ing com­pa­nies ear­lier in the de­sign process, seek­ing smart so­lu­tions to emerg­ing shield­ing needs.

EMI in new ve­hi­cles is grad­u­ally be­com­ing dense due to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of elec­tric mo­tors and elec­tron­ics in the en­tire ve­hi­cle. These mo­tors gen­er­ate EMI that could in­ter­fere with the elec­tron­ics within the ve­hi­cle, and thus re­quire some sort of EMI shield­ing.

De­sign­ing a shield that meets the needs of to­day’s ve­hi­cles can prove ex­pen­sive to auto man­u­fac­tur­ers, but it is a task that should be started as early as pos­si­ble. If an EMI is­sue is dis­cov­ered late in the man­u­fac­tur­ing process, and ve­hi­cle com­po­nents are al­ready on assembly lines, pro­duc­tion may have to stop while engi­neers look for a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem. This would prove to be ex­tremely ex­pen­sive and could lead to a shield­ing setup that is not space-ef­fi­cient.

The EV in­dus­try is grow­ing, and hy­brid or elec­tric ve­hi­cles come with elec­tric driv­e­train com­po­nents that cre­ate a lot of EMI. De­sign­ers have more EMI to con­tend with in the case of EVs, and less sheet metal to as­sist in shield­ing the ve­hi­cle from it. As car man­u­fac­tur­ers con­tinue to rely on more non-metal­lic body ma­te­ri­als—and add more elec­tronic/ wire­less com­po­nents to ve­hi­cle de­signs—EMI shield­ing pro­duc­ers will need to look for new ways to solve these chal­lenges while keep­ing shield­ing de­sign costs within a rea­son­able range.

Evolv­ing tech­nolo­gies

In­dus­tries like aero­space, mil­i­tary, health­care and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions are wit­ness­ing rapid ad­vances in wire­less con­sumer prod­ucts as well as in the use of per­sonal drones, tablets, cell phones, lap­tops, etc. As de­sign­ers of these prod­ucts pack more and more fea­tures into smaller moulds, the space avail­able for ef­fec­tive EMI shield­ing also gets smaller. This has led to man­u­fac­tur­ers up­grad­ing their de­sign de­part­ments or part­ner­ing with so­lu­tions providers who spe­cialise in niche mar­ket needs. For ex­am­ple, a drone man­u­fac­turer can now choose a shield­ing part­ner based on the lat­ter’s proven suc­cess in the drone in­dus­try.

Stricter FCC (Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mi­sion, USA) reg­u­la­tions are adding to de­sign con­straints in new wire­less prod­ucts. EMI shield­ing spe­cial­ists need to come up with pro­cesses that have higher tol­er­ances fit­ted within the lim­ited space us­ing thin­ner/lighter ma­te­ri­als, while keep­ing costs in check. De­sign­ers need to choose the shield­ing strat­egy that will best suit the given ap­pli­ca­tion and suc­cess­fully pre­vent ex­ter­nal in­ter­fer­ence. An op­ti­mal de­sign needs to con­sider all es­sen­tial fac­tors in­clud­ing size, noise ra­tios, cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, tem­per­a­ture tol­er­ances and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions.

The EMI shield­ing in­dus­try ex­pands

Elec­tronic de­vices are get­ting sleeker, smaller and more ad­vanced. Driverless cars are a re­al­ity. An end­less num­ber of wire­less com­po­nents are trans­mit­ting sig­nals within in­creas­ingly con­fined spa­ces. The need for ef­fec­tive EMI shield­ing is go­ing to be­come in­evitable as the e-world con­tin­ues to shrink, and the de­mand for speed and con­ve­nience con­tin­ues to grow. For EMI so­lu­tions providers, the key to stay­ing ahead is to get in­volved in the de­sign process as soon as pos­si­ble. If in­ter­fer­ence lev­els, shield­ing com­pli­ance guidelines, en­ergy sta­bil­ity, and time to mar­ket are all con­sid­ered and ad­dressed long be­fore a prod­uct is on the assembly line, the more likely it is that an ef­fec­tive (and cost-ef­fi­cient) shield­ing so­lu­tion can be found.

As the global de­mand for in­te­grated elec­tronic com­po­nents in­creases, the EMI shield­ing in­dus­try will also con­tinue to grow and evolve. Size and cost will re­main the big­gest chal­lenges to be ad­dressed. De­sign and reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance also play large roles in de­vel­op­ing shield­ing so­lu­tions. EMI can be found al­most any­where, and it doesn’t take much of it to dis­rupt the per­for­mance of elec­tronic sys­tems. How­ever, with the right ma­te­ri­als, de­sign and man­u­fac­tur­ing process, suc­cess­ful EMI shield­ing so­lu­tions can be found for even the most com­plex ap­pli­ca­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.