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A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical knowledge sharing for establishing a nationwide Time Stamping & Time Synchronization network and traceability of time signal to UTC NPL time, was signed between Council of Scientific and Industrial Research -National Physical Laboratory (CSIRNPL) and Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications. The nationwide time stamping & time synchronization network consisting of 22 numbers of Time Synchronization Centers (TSC’s) will be set up by DoT with technical assistance from CSIR-NPL. This network will provide synchronizing pulse in Indian Standard Time (IST) to all telecom & internet service providers in all the 22 LSA (Licensed Service Areas) in the country. The primary purpose of synchronizing the telecom network with IST time stamp is to enable the security agencies to overcome the difficulty in analyzing and correlating the cyber events in this era of greatly increasing network speed with advancement of telecom technology (2G to 3G to 4G to 5G etc.). The implementation of the project will also improve the telecom network efficiency by reducing packet loss due to reduced slips in better synchronized digital network. The time set on Indian telecom networks should be in IST zone to uniquely identify the user (subscriber) of network on tracing of the IP address and other parameters. Presently, Telecom Service Provider (TSP)/Internet Service Provider (ISP) are taking the reference time from different sources viz., GPS from GNSS. These sources do not have the traceability with IST. “Telecom Networks” need to be in IST time zone synchronized with CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (CSIRNPL) – the keeper of IST. The technologies developed by CSIR and its laboratories are of high value to Indian stakeholders, they be industry/government departments and ministries. After establishment & implementation of a PAN India time synchronization and time stamping across the Indian telecom network, all the network of the TSP/ISPs will be traceable with the IST, which will eliminate the problem of the time synchronization among the TSP/ISPs. This will lead to better efficiency of telecom network and reduce the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) call drop, improve the quality of service of the network, voice, video. The time standardization will help to curb cyber crimes and will also help to identify and correlate the various digital financial transactions. Accuracy of the time depends upon the distance between the TSC (reference source) and the location of the TSP/ISP centres. Therefore, stratum-1 time synchronization centre shall be established at all the 22 LSAs across the country.

Ministry of Science and Technology

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In order to incorporate the Cabinets’ nod to increase the number of instalments for payment of spectrum fees to 16 years, and to revise the spectrum cap norms, the government has amended the Unified Access Service License (UASL) and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS), w.e.f. 19-03-2018. The Cabinet had on 07-03-2018 approved the proposal of Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) to let operators opt for a one-time increase in instalments (maximum 16) to pay for spectrum acquired in auctions from 2012-2016. These instalments are based upon the principle that the Net Present Value (NPV) of the ‘Payment Due’ is protected as enumerated in respective NIAs (Notice Inviting Applications) for auctions in the years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The same spectrum cap would be applicable for all telecom service providers in that licensed service area, and the spectrum caps will be revisited after the final acts of World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) 2019 [to be held in Egypt].

The amendments are a part and parcel of the Unified Licence Agreement, with all the terms and conditions being unchanged. The Telecom Department also approved removal of intra-band cap of 50 % spectrum held by an operator in a circle, and instead allowed an operator to have not more than 50 % of all the sub-1GHz bands such as the 700MHz, 800MHz and 900MHz put together. This will allow operators to hold 35 % of the total spectrum assigned in a circle against the current cap of 25 %. However, there will be no change in the value and interest rates that telecom companies have to pay for the spectrum. The total amount that telecom operators will pay for the spectrum will be higher by Rs 74,446.01 crore till 2034-35 if they opt for more number of instalments. The amendment is part of the relief measures for the sector which is reeling under a debt of Rs 7.87 lakh crore.

[Source: The Hindu BusinessLine]