Spectrum auction likely in May-June'

Spectrum auction likely in May-June'

The government is likely to conduct next round of spectrum auction around May-June period this year.

“We will put all available spectrum for auction in which ecosystem is available that industry is demanding. The auctions will be held sometime in May-June,” Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg said at FICCI-WBA Vision Forum.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) issued a consultation paper on pricing of spectrum across bands – 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz – in November last year.

The regulator had also asked for views on the starting price of airwaves in the coveted 700 MHz band, which may be auction for the first time, although industry is debating whether this is the right time to put up this bandwidth for sale.

The government has pegged revenue from communication services for the current fiscal at Rs 42,865 crore including upfront realisation from spectrum sale and licence fee.

He said the Telecom Ministry will place BharatNet programme before the Cabinet for approval. The programme envisages use of all technology available for broadband network to connect all village panchayats with an outlay of about Rs 72,000 crore.

The government has set a target to connect 2.5 lakh village panchayat with optical fibre network for high speed broadband service by end of 2016. Garg, however, said that connectivity to the panchayats is expected to get completed by 2018. “The duct to lay optical fibre has reached about 45,000 village panchayats, around 37,000 have been connected with optical fibre,” Garg said.

He said the government is not happy with the pace of the project and is working on to resolve the problems.

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