The Cabinet Committee took a major decision related to the network for defence services on Wednesday. In a turn for releasing spectrum held by armed forces, the government has agreed to allocate higher budget for laying alternate communication network for the defence sector. The Network for spectrum project (NFS) will witness the bump of Rs 11,330 crore in its budget. Besides that, Rs 13,334 crore has also been allocated by the committee for infrastructure in July 2012. The project which will be completed over a period of 24 months is being held by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
Post the approval the committee said, “The NFS project will boost the communication capabilities of the defence forces in a major way leading to enhanced national operational preparedness.”
They further added, “The project will have forward linkages to other related industries such as telecom equipment manufacturing and other telecom related services.”
In the year 2009-10, the DoT was to receive the vacated 25 MHz of 3G spectrum and 20 MHz of 2G spectrum in phases from the defence sector. In return, the DoT had chalked up a plan for an exclusive network for the defence sector’s communication needs.
The budget allocation which has been done by the DoT is in line with the one which was done by the highest decision-making body in the telecom ministry, Telecom Commission. Previously, the Telecom Commission had allocated Rs 24,664 crore in January while revising the budget.
Recently, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha also noted that BSNL has a lot of opportunities coming its way in the future. The telco is already helping the government in several other projects such as BharatNet, under which it'll be relaying public Wi-Fi hotspots. In the National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018 policy, the government announced various new projects to make the internet accessible by every individual by 2022. And most of these contracts will be awarded to BSNL itself. The Phase II of BharatNet deployment is currently under progress by the government.