Reliance Jio Spectrum In 800-900 MHz Band Troubling GMRT

The GMRT is built and operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). The telescope operates in the frequency range of 100 MHz to 1500 MHz.

Highlights

  • The GMRT is built and operated by the NCRA and TIFR
  • The NCRA was promised in 2018 that DoT would find a positive solution for this
  • DoT’s allocation of the spectrum in the 800 MHz - 900 MHz band to Reliance Jio is causing problems to the Indian scientific community

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Reliance Jio

Reliance Jio was allocated spectrum in the 800 MHz - 900 MHz frequency band by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). But this spectrum allocation to the telco has been causing major problems to the world’s largest telescope known as the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT), operating at meter wavelengths. According to a report from Indian Express, this spectrum allocation by DoT to Jio is causing major problems in carrying out accurate scientific research activities.

DoT’s Unchecked Spectrum Allocation to Jio Causing Issues to 30+ Countries

For the unaware, the GMRT is built and operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). The telescope operates in the frequency range of 100 MHz to 1500 MHz. On top of this, the GMRT enjoys special access and protection around the 900 MHz spectrum band so that it can carry out astronomy-related activities accurately.

Scientists that are involved in the concerned research project told the publication that DoT’s allocation of the spectrum in the 800 MHz - 900 MHz band to Reliance Jio is causing problems to the Indian scientific community as well as more than 30 other countries.

It is worth noting that Reliance Jio was already operating in the same frequency band for a long time, but the initial interference worth noting started coming in 2016-17. According to the NCRA, the strong interference that Reliance Jio has been causing in the region has permanently damaged a ton of large datasets.

The NCRA was promised in 2018 that DoT would find a positive solution for this. But even three years down the line, there’s no solution, and the problems still persist. This is a little sad to hear since the scientific communities around the world are counting on the GMRT to publish accurate data that will help them take their research future. But with continuous interruptions from Jio, it doesn’t feel like that would happen without the DoT stepping in.

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