30 Apr Consolidate Covid-19 tracker apps to reduce bandwidth usage: Telcos
Telcos and technology companies have urged the telecom department and the electronics & IT ministry to expedite steps to consolidate the over 40 Covid-19-tracker government apps under Aarogya Setu to reduce bandwidth usage and sharpen the pandemic tracking process.
They have also called on the government to widen the scope and power of the Aarogya Setu app, which runs on both 3G and 4G networks, by adding functionalities such as virtual meetings, document management, data communications and productivity boosters, especially with `work from home’ (WFH) being considered the best option for office-goers during the coronavirus crisis.
“There’s little sense in having 40-plus government apps doing the same thing, as in guiding people to avoid risk-prone Covid19 zones to control its spread…it only eats up bandwidth and creates confusion,” a senior industry executive aware of the matter told ET.
Tech companies and telcos, he said, have suggested bringing these apps under `Aarogya Setu’ to make matters simpler, more efficient and ensuring uniform dissemination of Covid19-related information.
The proposals were sent to the secretaries of the department of telecommunications (DoT) and ministry of electronics & information technology (MeitY), Anshu Prakash and Ajay Sawhney, respectively, through the FICCI platform earlier this week, he said.
Separately, telecom carriers have urged the government to speed up right of way (RoW) clearances to scale up fibre-based home broadband connectivity across the country as vast swathes of people are likely to continue working from home for a prolonged period with no early end to the pandemic in sight.
In a recent presentation to DoT and MeitY, telcos also called on the government to facilitate installation of in-building broadband gear such as distributed antennae systems (DAS) and small cells across gated communities to boost fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity.
They have sought intervention of the housing and urban affairs ministry to scotch any resistance from resident welfare associations (RWAs) on grounds that telecom/internet connectivity has been categorised by the home ministry as an essential utility service during the nationwide lockdown.
Telcos have also urged DoT to speed up the crucial clearance process for setting up mobile towers to help in faster deployment of networks amid the upsurge in data consumption during the lockdown.
Every telco requires approval from the standing advisory committee on radio frequency allocation (SACFA) on the height and location of any tower it plans to install. Likewise, carriers have also dialled DoT for fast-track release of `E band’ airwaves (in the 80 GHz band) for augmenting backhaul capacity.