The broadcasters are alleging a number of “disruptions” in light of concerns over potential interference and potential outages if full-scale 5G providers are introduced across the country, since the guard band between 5G telecom and broadcast providers is drastically contracting. The broadcasting industry has written to the government with suggestions in this regard, noting past reports of service interruptions by operators in places like Tamil Nadu and parts of West Bengal.
Satellites employ the frequency range of 3700-4200 for transmission, according to Amitabh Kumar, Head of Technology & Broadcasting at Zee Network. The entire spectrum between 3600 Mhz and 3700 Mhz was left free as guard band before the 5G services started. He continued, “But the existing 5G allocation reaches as far as 3670 Mhz.” Because the mid-band transmissions are so close to the downlink frequencies, it is now the responsibility of the distribution platform operators (DPOs) to ensure that they are adequately shielded from interference from the 5G providers, according to Rajiv Khattar, a former president of projects at Dish TV. Currently, frequencies between 3630 and 3670 Mhz have been allocated to the telecom companies, and soon frequencies up to 3670 Mhz will be used for the 5G services.
Earlier, broadcasters had informed the federal government that they could need a 100 MHz minimum guard band from the 3600 MHz frequency range and start operating at 3700 MHz. “The broadcasting sector absolutely requires the 100 MHz guard band. According to a broadcasting industry official who spoke on condition of anonymity, “It offers us ample cushion to avoid any interference by telecom signals and assures that our services keep running undisturbed.
Bandpass filters are an essential device to reduce the possibility of interference. The Department of Telecom’s (DoT) technical division, Telecom Engineering Consultants, has released the general specifications for bandpass filters that might help manage potential interferences.
Lack of a 100 MHz guard band could interfere with the operation of several TV channels that operate in the 3800 MHz frequency range. There are almost 200 channels that operate in that frequency range, according to the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), a business organisation of broadcasters and cable TV operators. These include, among other things, some Sahara-owned channels and other information channels.
However, as there isn’t a local manufacturer of bandpass filters at the moment, imports must be used to meet the demand. According to Khattar, it would be well worth it if the government provided some financial incentives to DPOs from the proceeds of the spectrum public sale for the purchase of bandpass filters. If not, the published stakeholders would need to make sizable investments in the purchase of bandpass filters.
The interference from cellular communications warnings has already caused a number of instances of service interruptions at the end of cable TV and broadcasters. An organisation by the name of Sai Vision cable community protested to the TRAI in December 2021 about interference from 5G experiments with broadcasting alerts in the C-band. After receiving the feedback, the DoT indicated that it had started using 5G filters to lessen the issue. A representative of the broadcasting industry claimed that during West Bengal’s 5G trials in September, several areas experienced service interruptions.
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In its final recommendations before the spectrum auction, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) advised the DoT that broadcasters should make do with a 30 MHz guard band so that the frequency range between 3300 MHz and 3670 MHz could be used for cellular communication and 5G services by telecom operators. Additionally, it was proposed that broadcasters may coexist peacefully with telecom providers in the mid-frequency band range by incorporating a cavity filter into their systems. Based on a submission by the IBDF to the TRAI, China has limited cellular communications worldwide in the 3300-3600 MHz range. Operators of TV and other C-Band services in Australia “experienced serious interruption post the allocation to 5G,” according to the IBDF, when the government allocated spectrum to telecom companies in 2018 at a frequency of 3700 MHz. The IBDF noted that South Korea is probably one of the countries that has auctioned spectrum up to 3700 MHz, noting that the country does not frequently employ satellite tv for pc C-Band for cable and satellite tv for pc services.
According to broadcasters, the government has decreased the guard band between broadcasting and 5G services under the new National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP), going against their own TEC recommendations and TRAI recommendations. May 2nd, IBDF “Reiterating their worries regarding impinging on the use of C-Band spectrum, specifically 3.6-4.2 GHz,” they had written a letter to I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra.
Lack of a 100 MHz guard band could interfere with the operation of several TV channels that operate in the 3800 MHz frequency range. There are around 200 channels that operate in the frequency range, according to the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation, a commercial organisation of broadcasters. It cited the TRAI recommendations on 5G Auctions, which were released on April 11, 2022, and stated that “TRAI in its recommendations (which, among other things, contain recommendations for the auction of the 3300-3670 MHz band), has specifically outlined the actions on part of the MIB based on the realisation that the proposed auction of the 3300-3670 MHz bands will cause serious interference in C&S services.”
The TRAI has acknowledged that “interference will be present in the bands of 3700-4200 MHz used by the C&S industry; that there is a need to use filters… to eliminate interference; and that MIB needs to sensitise MSOs, DTH Operators, and other C&S users on this subject and implications,” according to the statement. They stated that the C-band spectrum, which is the only one allocated and now being used by the published industry (between 3700 MHz and 4200 MHz), could be rendered useless if the immediately adjacent frequencies between 3300 MHz and 3670 MHz and 3700 MHz are used for 5G.
The letter stated that “this has already played out in the UAE, Singapore, EU, and US where satellite reception has been adversely affected due to 5G roll out in the adjoining frequencies.” As a result, the cable and satellite industries will experience significant disruption, with thousands of cable operators and millions of customers at risk. I&B Ministry representatives told the Indian Express that the implementation of 5G would undoubtedly need the use of filters. The filters must be purchased and installed by the cable operators, MCOs, and LCOs. The ministry states, “This may not be necessary right away, but it will be necessary in the future. The filters would be used even by Doordarshan. Bollyinside