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Webinar Explores Public-private Collaboration on NavIC Technology in India

The National Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research, Innovation, and Training (NTIPRIT), under the Department of Telecommunications, recently conducted a webinar, themed “NavlC — Opportunities for the Telecom Industry”. The webinar was set up in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the telecom industry.

National experts in the field of geodesy, geodynamic studies, atmospheric sciences, and aerial surveying attended the webinar. Prominent Indian and global industries in the field of high precision GNSS were also present. The deliberations and discussions aimed to formulate a comprehensive framework for NavIC-based CORS implementation in India.

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System or NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system established and maintained by ISRO. It covers India and a region extending up to 1,500km beyond the Indian mainland, which is its primary coverage area. It provides a position accuracy better than 20m (20) and timing accuracy better than 50ns (20). As per a press release, the actual measurements demonstrate accuracy better than 5m and 20ns, respectively.

NavIC-based applications are used in various civilian sectors including, transport, map applications, and timekeeping. Today major mobile chipset manufacturers like Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Broadcom already support NavIC across various chipset platforms. A few mobile phone OEMs have also released handsets, which can be enabled to receive NavlC through over-the-air firmware updates. NavlC is an indigenous positioning system that is under Indian control. There is no risk of the service being withdrawn or denied in a given situation.

During the webinar, representatives were briefed about the NaviC system and informed that it has higher accuracy than the peer systems. The government has plans to make NavIC available on the L-1 band, in addition to the presently used L-5 band. The NavIC system should be made mandatory for mobile phones released in Indian markets to adopt, an expert said during the webinar.

Anshu Prakash, the Union Telecom Secretary and Chairman DCC, while formally launching the webinar, underscored the importance of the integration of technology with applications. He supported the move to make NavlC mandatory for all mobile phones in India. NavIC’s tracking potential of oxygen tankers and other essentials amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial. He said that the topic of the webinar is directly linked to the fruition of the vision for a self-reliant India (AatmNirbhar Bharat). He congratulated NTIPRIT for taking the initiative to organise a webinar on this promising indigenous technology in the present difficult times. He also appreciated the efforts of the telecom industry, including that of chipset and handset manufacturers in their efforts to adopt the NavIC service.

NTIPRIT is the apex training institute under the Department of Telecommunications involved in the conduction of induction training for probationary officers of the Indian Telecommunication Service Group. Apart from this, NTIPRIT also conducts various In-service training, management development programmes, regional and international training, and capacity-building workshops for government officers in various aspects of information and communication technology administration in the country.

Last year, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had recognised NavIC as a component of the World-Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS). The recognition was awarded in the 102nd meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee of IMO (MSC-102). It was represented at IMO by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways with technical support from ISRO. In April 2020, NavIC L5 was incorporated in the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) standard 10403.3 for differential Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) applications.

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