Explained: How 4G spectrum will help Indian Railways and millions of passengers

On June 9, the Union Cabinet approved the allotment of 5 MHz in the 700 MHz band to the Indian Railways. This is considered to be a game changer for the railways. The allocation of the new spectrum opens up the 4G network for the national transporter. It would help in overhauling its signalling system.

Here is a look at what all changes it will bring about and how technology has evolved in the Indian Railways.

How will 4G spectrum help ordinary passengers?

Safety, first and foremost. It will help the Indian Railways shift to the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system.

he advantages of ATP systems are many. It helps technological intervention in preventing accidents due to collision, jumping of signals (SPAD, or signal passing at danger, in railway parlance) and over-speeding, to name only a few.

How can the ATP system prevent rail accidents?

The ATP system will monitor the speed of trains and activate emergency brakes through a satellite-based control system based on signals. This system also has anti-collision technology that relies on GPS data from satellites for position updates. To upgrade to this technology, the Railways need higher frequency spectrum.

What about WiFi connectivity?

The 4G spectrum will be used for implementing voice, internet of things-based asset monitoring services, passenger information display system and live feed of video surveillance of a few coaches at a time.

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