National WiMax group soon for global reach
THE government is planning to set up a national working group on WiMax consisting of all stakeholders — government, service providers, equipment manufacturers and test equipment suppliers. The group will formulate strategy for active participation in the global WiMax forum proceedings. “It would be set up on the lines of existing nine international representative groups on WiMax. It would enable the Indian WiMax industry to position itself in the global arena,” a senior official in the department of telecommunication (DoT) said. The move is aimed towards getting greater mileage from India’s participation in the forum. WiMax is expected to help India in achieving its ambitious target of 20 million broadband connections by 2010, the official said. India is clamouring for the inclusion of 700 megahertz (mhz) spectrum in the WiMax profiles and had made a presentation in this case at the WiMax conference held in Madrid recently. The proposed study group would take the case further, he said adding that the 700 mhz band has a reach of 30 km and it makes an ideal candidate for rural broadband access. DoT had also pressed upon the need for having a certification and proof of concept application lab for WiMax equipment and is in talks with a couple of member companies for the lab including AT 4 of Spain. WiMax is expected to play a key role in boosting broadband penetration and providing services such as e-governance, ehealth and e-education in India. The technology would also help mobile voice and video services increase their penetration as these services are mostly dependent on broadband wireless technologies such as WiMax. India had announced its broadband policy in 2004 under which data connection with minimum download speed of up to 2 mega bytes per second has been defined as broadband. The government had set a target of nine million broadband connection by the end of 2007 and 20 million by the end of 2010. But the country seems to miss the targets by big margins mainly due to shortfall in new additions in the rural areas wherein it had put a target of broadband coverage for all the secondary and higher secondary schools and also for all the public health care centres by the end of the year. Technologies like WiMax could come in handy for the achievement of the set targets, the official added.