Government open to all pilot project experimentation: Prasad

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said that the government is open to all pilot projects for experimentation in India.

“As a minister I am open to all the pilot projects for experimentations. All the new technology projects should be given equal opportunity for exploration,” the minister said while addressing a seminar organised by the National Institute of Communication Finance on spectrum management.

Asked whether the government is ready to provide airwaves to the players for pilot projects, he said: “The decision of spectrum allocation will be taken after we finally approve their experimentation results.”

Last month, Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai met Prasad during his visit, and the search-engine giant had reached in-principle agreement with the Indian government for its research and development project, Loon, which is aimed at providing internet connectivity in rural India.

“I have proposed Google partner with the (state-owned telecommunications company) Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited for the pilot project,” Prasad had said.

Pichai’s announcements were part of the assurance Google held out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to its headquarters at Mountain View, Santa Clara, California, in September 2015.

Mentioning that spectrum is a scarce resource, the minister said its optimal usage is important.

Prasad said when he took over as the minister, allowing spectrum trading and sharing and identifying the defence spectrum bands were the most challenging tasks but all these issues were addressed last year.

He said liberalisation of spectrum guidelines will be finalised soon.

About spectrum auctioning, he said the present challenge in front of the government is “making auction architecture more liberal”.

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