- Why in News- On March 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Bharat 6G Vision Document, a starting point for policymakers and the industry to gear up for the next generation of telecommunication.
- This is happening even as over 45,000 villages lack 4G connectivity, and 5G networks are still being built out.
Why did the government put out a 6G vision document?
- The government has indicated that it wants to accelerate India’s wireless data consumption and assume leadership in setting the standards for 6G in the coming years.
- Another key motivation is the delay in previous generations of telecommunication technology rolling out in India — 5G started rolling out in India years after countries like South Korea and the U.S. had already blanketed their major urban areas with high speed wireless connectivity.
- India does not want a repeat of that.
- Yet another reason is pure physics: frequencies generally increase in newer generations of networks, but the lower the frequency, the longer a cell signal can travel.
- With increasing data usage, lower frequencies in 4G networks may not physically be able to keep up with the demand for traffic.
- More data can travel in higher frequencies, which is the basis for 5G architectures where base stations with low coverage took the place of a single larger cell tower.
- Beyond encouraging greater participation in standardisation discussions, the vision document says the government will financially support “research pathways” where breakthroughs are most likely to advance connectivity goals, leveraging talent in academia and companies.
- The government said an “apex body” will be set up to shepherd these groups through roadblocks.
- Some indicative goals are
- to guarantee every citizen a minimum bandwidth of 100Mbps;
- ensure every gram panchayat has half a terabit per second of connectivity;
- and blanket the country with over 50 million internet hotspots, with thirteen per square kilometre.
How will 6G be different from 5G?
- For consumers, websites will load faster, videos will look better, and files will download faster, as has been the case with every new generation of technology.
- But, some of the innovations that the government envisions as 6G powered connectivity boosters are solutions that already exist in other forms. For instance, satellite internet in remote areas is a solution that the government can instantly approve by granting firms like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Bharti Airtel backed OneWeb the administrative clearance to begin offering
- Like DTH satellite dishes, setup is minimal as the satellites are already in the sky.
- However, administrative clearances lag behind.
- At least two parts of India have already relied on satellite internet for decades.
- The Andaman & Nicobar Islands relied on 1Gbps link to connect to the outside world, which is comparable to a single expensive home connection in many Indian cities today.
- The situation improved vastly after the islands were connected to Chennai by an undersea cable in 2020.
- While satellite internet speeds have improved, thanks to innovations like constellations, connectivity goals have as much to do with satellites hundreds of kilometres overhead as they do with the cables beneath the ground and on the seabed.