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Bharat 6G Project: Will India Be the First Country to Roll Out 6G?

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Since releasing 5G, India has moved up 49 spots on the Speedtest World Index, moving from 118th in September 2022 to 69th in January 2023. Ookla data indicates an increase in LTE speeds for Jio and Airtel after the rollout of 5G services, demonstrating the success of all their network modernization efforts. The majority of telecom circles have seen an increase in 5G performances, with Kolkata recording the fastest median 5G download rates in January 2023 at over 500 Mbps. In Kolkata, Jio had the highest median 5G download speed of 506.25 Mbps, compared to 268.89 Mbps for Airtel in Delhi.

Although the speed of 6G is still unknown, estimations place it at 100 times the speed of 5G. The International Telecommunication Union is likely to be in charge of developing the final standards that would specify what a 6G connection is (ITU). After more than eight years of labor, the ITU has finalized the standards for 5G (also known as IMT-2020), and it is anticipated that a similar process will shortly begin for 6G. It hasn’t prevented experts from speculating about the speed of 6G. Reports suggest that 6G could offer mind-blowing rates of 1 terabyte or 8,000 gigabits per second. Forget one movie downloading in a few seconds from Netflix with 5G; with 6G speeds like that, you could download 142 hours of Netflix movies in just one second.

High-speed 6G Communication Services by 2030
According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is getting ready to introduce 6G high-speed communication services by 2030. It has established the Bharat 6G initiative to discover, fund research and introduce technology nationwide.

The government has also appointed an apex council to oversee the project and concentrate on matters like normalization, identification of the spectrum for 6G usage, creation of an ecosystem for devices and systems, and determining finances for research and development, among other things. India’s 6G project will be implemented in two phases. Although 6G isn’t officially available yet, it has been conceptualized as a far better technology that might provide internet speeds up to 100 times faster than 5G.

The top council would support and finance 6G technology research and development, design, and development by Indian startups, businesses, research organizations, and universities. Identifying priority areas for 6G research based on India’s comparative advantages would help India become a leading global supplier of intellectual property, goods, and solutions of inexpensive 6G telecom solutions.

The new technologies include terahertz communication, radio interfaces, tactile internet, artificial intelligence for connected intelligence, novel encoding techniques, and waveform chipsets for 6G devices will be a major area of concentration for the council.

“Within six months of the rollout of 5G technology, we are talking about 6G. Before 4G, India was only a user of telecom technology, but now India is moving fast to become a big exporter of telecom technology,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi says.

India should be prepared to roll out 6G services in the following ten years. 6G promises to provide extremely low latency with rates up to 1 Tbps, in contrast to 5G, which can provide internet speeds up to 10 Gbps.

According to reports, 6G use cases would include remote-controlled factories, continuously communicating self-driving automobiles and intelligent wearables that directly receive information from human senses. However, since the majority of 6G supporting communication devices will be battery-powered and can have a high carbon footprint, it will also need to be balanced with sustainability.

Congested spectrum bands will need to be reevaluated and rationalized, and captive networks will need to be adopted for Industrial 4.0 and enterprise use cases

According to reports, India will identify priority research areas as part of its 6G mission by collaborating with all relevant parties, including businesses, academia, and service providers. This will include theoretical and simulation studies, proof-of-concept prototypes and demonstrations, and early market interventions through startups.

It is suggested that the 6G project be carried out in two stages: the first from 2023 to 2025 and the second from 2025 to 2030. Phase one will support exploratory concepts, riskier pathways, and proof-of-concept experiments. Ideas and concepts that exhibit promise and the potential to be embraced by the global peer community will be given the necessary support to be developed to completion, to establish their benefits and use cases, to develop implementation IPs, and to establish testbeds that will eventually lead to commercialization in phase two.

The government will also need to investigate shared spectrum use, notably in the higher frequency bands for 6G, according to the reports. Congested spectrum bands will need to be reevaluated and rationalized, and captive networks will need to be adopted for Industrial 4.0 and enterprise use cases.

A few bands are going to create demand (for example, 450-470 MHz, 526-612 MHz, 31-31.3 GHz, etc.) To satisfy the needs of 5G+ and 6G technologies, expand and place a wider mid-band. This calls for starting a fresh inter-ministerial procedure to repurpose many bands, similar to what has already been done.

The document advocated the establishment of a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore to facilitate various financial mechanisms, including grants, loans, VC funds, Fund of Funds (FoF), etc., for the following 10 years in order to fund research and innovation on 6G. There are two levels of grants suggested, with grants up to Rs 20 crore for modest to medium-sized financial needs and grants over Rs 20 crore for high-impact initiatives.

Who is Working on 6G?
Research projects into 6G grew in popularity throughout 2020 and the beginning of 2021 as governments started investigating options, keen to adopt new technology before competitors. This can be divided into several recent significant investments. China’s official news agency reports that the country has already launched a 6G test satellite into orbit. According to reports, the spacecraft will be one of 13 new satellites China will launch aboard the Long March-6 rocket in November 2020. The satellite, which weighed 70 kilos, was created to aid in data transmission testing over large distances along the terahertz frequency, according to the China Global Television Network. The satellite might be used to keep an eye on environmental data like agricultural growth and forest fires.

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