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C-DoT: Poised for a big role in new government initiatives

November 24, 2015
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The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) has played a crucial role in revolutionising the Indian telecom sector. However, the telecom research and development (R&D) unit of the government has been losing its prominence in recent years due to the sluggish growth in the local manufacturing of telecom equipment. Despite the massive demand for telecom services, local equipment makers are finding it extremely difficult to compete with their foreign counterparts, who have built a strong customer base among private telecom operators. Limited orders and the resultant limited manufacturing of indigenous telecom equipment have had a major effect on C-DoT’s activities. That said, the situation is now set to undergo a change as the government moves ahead with the Make in India and Digital India initiatives.

Background

Established in 1984, C-DoT is the Department of Telecommunications’ R&D arm. It is committed to providing a wide range of cost-effective, indigenously developed and state-of-the-art telecom solutions. Over the past three decades, C-DoT has innovated and designed several products to ensure the wider reach of telecom services within India. It has grown to the level of a national centre for R&D in communications technology in many areas, including satellite communications, ATMs, DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing), wireless broadband, gigabit passive optic networks (GPON), next-generation networks, and mobile cellular systems. C-DoT has also been entrusted with projects of national importance, like the Central Monitoring System for telecom security and the securing of networks for strategic applications.

Recent developments

During 2014-15, C-DoT made significant progress across various functions and technologies. In broadband, software adaptations for IP multimedia subsystems (IMS) was 70 per cent completed, and 80 per cent completed for long term evolution (LTE), for which function testing was being done in labs. In addition, hardware implementation, system integration, and testing and system validation had commenced for multi-terabit routers.

The transfer of technology (ToT) process had been initiated for femto LTE systems in the frequency division duplex band, while the development of LTE femto in the time division duplexing (TDD) band was completed. Significant progress was also made to complete various other nodes, such as remote radio heads in the TDD band, radio resource management, self-operating networks and operations and administrative modules, and their lab testing. Development also took place for copper access nodes, the integrated release of fixed line prepaid, and online recharge servers with IMS cores.

One of C-DoT’s key technologies is GPON, which is being deployed in the BharatNet project. At the end of 2014, C-DoT released two citizen-friendly technologies: GyanSetu and MAX-NG. GyanSetu provides multilingual text-, audio- and video-based solutions, and can prove to be a veritable game changer in bridging the digital divide. In July 2015, C-DoT released two Wi-Fi products to address connectivity issues in rural areas and hilly terrains.

The way forward

Over the years, one of C-DoT’s growing concerns has been the dwindling contribution of Indian manufacturers to telecom, with hardly any new orders and several being withdrawn. Moreover, their association has mostly been limited to PSUs. Government support and preference for locally developed technology has also been limited so far. However, as the government strives to make Make in India and Digital India a success, C-DoT is poised to play a key role. Enhancing its role in these projects will be crucial to ensure that state-run companies do not lose their capabilities and significance in the Indian telecom sector.

C-DoT now wants the government to come up with big-ticket projects with the mandate of deploying only indigenous products for private and public companies. It is currently at the final stages of discussions with local manufacturers and is aiming to double its manufacturing partner base by end 2015.

 
 
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