Communication boost for railways with allocation of 5 MHz spectrum

In a bid to improve the communications in railways and strengthen public safety and security, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the allotment of 5 MHz spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band to Indian Railways.

An official statement said that with this spectrum, Indian Railways envisages providing LTE (Long Term Evolution) based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its route.

The estimated investment in the project is more than Rs 25,000 crore, and it will be completed in the next 5 years.

In addition to this, Indian Railways has approved the TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System), an indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection System, which will help in avoiding train collisions thereby reducing accidents and ensuring passenger safety, said the statement.

“It brings a strategic shift in railways’ operations and maintenance regime. It will help in improving the safety and increasing the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure.”

Further, the modern rail network will result in reduced transportation cost and higher efficiency. Also, it will attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfill the ‘Make in India’ mission and generate employment, it added.

The purpose of the LTE for Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications.

It will be used for modern signaling and train protection systems and ensure seamless communication between loco pilots and guards. It will also enable Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring especially of coaches, wagons & locos, and live video feed of CCTV cameras in the train coaches to ensure efficient, safer and faster train operations.

The spectrum charges may be levied based on formula basis as prescribed by Department of Telecommunications for royalty charges and license fee for captive use as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.