Defence Marches Ahead in Networking Space

by Sonal Desai    Nov 16, 2006

HCL Infosystem Ltd. recently bagged a Rs 561 crore project to install Multi Protocol Label Switches (MPLS) for the Indian defence, from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

The project involves laying down MPLS based data network across India. BSNL will provide connectivity. HCL Infosystems will supply equipment and implement the project.

R.L. Dube, director, Planning & New Services at BSNL noted, “The network will be confined for the use of defence forces. At present, they use the radio system and other hybrid systems for communication. The project, to be completed in six to eight months involves laying down a complete fiber network. It will also free around 45 mega hertz of space spectrum.” HCL will enhance BSNL’s Virtual Private Network (VPN).

The technology will improve data voice and video communication for defence personnel. The project will be implemented in phases. Larger locations will be first networked, followed by smaller ones. Data from these locations will be connected to a central focal point.

Through this order, HCL will plan, engineer, supply, install and commission network facilities for one of BSNL’s critical projects. “We are pleased that BSNL has awarded us this prestigious project. This order is yet another recognition of our ability to provide complete ICT solutions, backed by single window support, through our nationwide network. In fact, today our strong technical capability along with service & support pan India has emerged as our key brand differentiator,” said Ajai Chowdhry, chairman & CEO, HCL Infosystems.

HCL refused to add any more comment citing non disclosure agreement with BSNL. The company is expected to issue a statement on the use of technology for the project soon.

The initiative is a follow-up to an inter ministerial committee recommendation August 2006, that asked BSNL and the department of defence to vacate spectrum bands, including those of 3G to fuel growth of mobile services. The deadline to vacate the spectrum is end 2007.

A Project Definition Team (PDT) comprising members from defence, and the Communication and Information Technology ministry was formed to deliberate provision of Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) links to replace some of the existing wireless links. The aim was to release additional spectrum in desirable frequency bands.

Dayanidhi Maran, telecom minister, has said that India expects to launch 3G mobile telephone services in the second half of 2007. In a conference held recently, he informed, “The process for introducing 3G services has already been initiated and we expect to launch these services by the latter half of 2007.” India of late allowed four major carriers, including Bharti Airtel Ltd., to conduct indoor trials of mobile services based on the 3G spectrum so that they could test equipment.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will finalise recommendations for pricing and allocation of 3G spectrum.