BSNL open to sharing 2500MHz spectrum for ‘Project Loon’

25 May 2016

State-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is open to allocating spectrum in the 2500MHz band to Google for its Project Loon, which plans to use helium balloons fitted with transmitters to provide connectivity in rural areas. The Economic Times writes that the American internet giant is close to getting approval for conducting a brief trial of the technology in either Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra, after its previous proposal was rejected last year. Google had proposed a pilot of the scheme, but the plan was opposed by several ministries – including those covering civil aviation, telecommunications and defence – with one of the major sticking points being its request for spectrum in the 700MHz band. The current plan is expected to last just four days, and will be coordinated by the Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY).

Circumventing the issue of using the as-yet unallocated 700MHz band, BSNL has said that it is willing to make spectrum in the 2500MHz band available to Google for experimental use, and has a transparent pricing regime ready. ‘We can easily spare 10MHz for LTE-based 4G services over the 2500MHz band,’ BSNL Chairman and Director Anupam Shrivastava was quoted as saying, adding: ‘We have had some initial discussions with Google. Selection of state is in the process currently [and] is expected to be finalised soon.’