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telegraph, VSNL, E-mail, BSNL, Radio, Internet, Cellular phone, VSAT, Laws, Telecommunication

What is Telecommunications?
Telecommunications is the communication of information by electronic means usually over some distance.

Telecommunication is the transmission and reception of messages over long distances. Visual signaling with flags, lamps or smoke was the earliest form of telecommunication. Today, the term refers to a wide variety of electrical and electronic communication systems used through out the world. Modern telecommunication systems send and receive sound, printed materials, and visual images in a fraction of a second.
Most telecommunication systems transmit messages by wire, radio or satellite. Many telegraph messages and telephone conversations, as especially local calls, travel over wires that are laid underground in cables. Cables on the sea floor handle such communications that travel over seas. Television and radio broadcast are sent through the air by radio waves. Radio waves called microwaves transmit television signals over extremely long distances. Microwaves are also used in most long distance telephone communication.

Brief History of TeleCommunication Industry

The oldest telecommunication's service in India is the telegraph service, which was introduced in 1851. The British Empire in India, realized the advantages of the industry and devoted much time and capital to the expansion of the telegraph industry. Within four years, 7000 km of telegraph lines were erected, connecting the North and South. With much labor put into the telegraph industry, the network expanded rapidly to provide links to Malaysia, Tibet, and Europe via Iraq and Iran.
The telephone industry was introduced in 1882. Unlike the telegraph industry, the development of telephones was entrusted to the private sector and was limited to a few cities. With independence from the British Empire in 1947, India had "321 telephone exchanges, with a capacity of 100,000 lines, 86,000 working connections, 426 long distance voice circuits, 338 long distance public call offices, and 3324 public telegraph offices."

Major landmarks of Telecommunications

1830 Samuel Morse demonstrated first telegraph.
1838 He finished his invention and received a patent for it.
1844 On The 24th of May, the first telegraph line was opened
twelve years after Samuel Morse got the idea. The inventor of
the telegraph himself sat in the High Court of Justice in
Washington and sent the first message out to the Baltimore.
1847 Mr. Robinson, an American gentleman, brought the Morse
Telegraph to Europe.
1851 In 1851 Hiram Sibley founded a company with a group of
businesspeople that built the telegraph line in the Midwest.
1856 The name for Telegraph service was registered as Western
Union Co.
1874 Alexander Graham Bell - Put speech over wire by varying the
electrical current as the density of air waves vary when
sound is produced.
1876 “Improvements in telegraphy” (1st Telephone patent # 174,464)
Electrical transmission of sounds and the idea of variable
resistance for converting voice to electrical signals and
first actual conversation over a practical teleohine and
Edison invents the electric bulb and the phonograph
1877 First switchboard, six subscribers
1878 First telephone exchange, New Haven, 21 subscribers
$38/month, average income $20/month
1880 54,000 telephones
1884 First automatic exchange
1892 Telephone system regulation begins in Canada.
1893 Broadcasting was started in Budapest.
1906 Lee de Forest invents the vacuum tube
1910 Interstate Commerce Commission starts to regulate telcos
1914 Underground cables link Boston, NYC and Washington
1915 First transcontinental call, Newyork to SanFransisco
1925 Bell Telephone Laboratories founded
1927 Trans-Atlantic short-wave call, Newyork to London
1930 AT&T introduces much higher quality insulated wire
1934 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) founded
1936 First coaxial cable, NY to Philadelphia
1945 AT&T lays 2000 miles of coaxial cable
1947 First microwave
1952 The first database was implemented on RCA's Bizmac computer
1954 Gene Amdahl developed the first computer operating system for
the IBM 704.
1956 First trans-Atlantic telephone cable
1962 Telecommunications Satellites
1968 Carterfone court decision permits non-Bell telephone
equipment to be used
1970 Court permits MCI to provide long-distance service
1980’s Fiber cable
1984 Modems and acoustic-docking-stations. Speed: 300-2400 bps
1985 First real Laptop.Compaq launches the first portable AT (with
1989 PCMCA- cards. The PCMCA-standard is going to be the most
common standard for mobile communication and online hardware.
1993 First PDAApple launches the Newton: it is the first Personal
Digital Assistent PDA. It can be contolled writing with a pen
on the display. Online connection possible!
1994 Toshiba T200cs:First pen-PC with aber color-display
1995 HP omnigo: Combination of natl GSM and Palmtop-PC. E-mail
1996 Nokia CommunicatorPersonal organizer with natel-GSM and
Internet display.

Landmarks of Indian Telecommunications

1851 First operational land lines were laid by the government near
1881 Telephone service introduced in India
1883 Merger with the postal system
1923 Formation of Indian Radio Telegraph Company (IRT)
1932 Merger of ETC and IRT into the Indian Radio and Cable
Communication Company (IRCC)
1947 Nationalization of all foreign telecommunication companies to
form the Posts, Telephone and Telegraph (PTT), a monopoly run
by the government's Ministry of Communications
1985 Department of Telecommunications (DOT) established, an
exclusive provider of domestic and long-distance service that
would be its own regulator (separate from the postal system)
1986 Conversion of DOT into two wholly government-owned companies:
the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) for international
telecommunications and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited
(MTNL) for service in metropolitan areas.
1997 Telecom Regulatory Authority created.

Organisational Structure
The most successful of the new services has been ‘paging’ which has achieved the most extensive penetration with nearly half a million subscribers in 27 cities. Up to four operators for paging in each city have been given licenses. Cellular services remained concentrated in the metros, with a total of around a million subscribers served by 22 companies running 42 networks. VSAT systems comprise small earth stations that communicate with one another via a central earth station ‘HUB’. A signal from one VSAT is unlinked to a satellite, downlinked to the hub and then relayed to another VSAT via the satellite. Different branches of a bank or any other organization or by agents or distributors use these systems. The main VSAT operators in India are Hughes-Escorts Communications Ltd.(HECL), a leading user of this technology is the National Stock Exchange. The VSNL, the public sector organization for overseas telecommunications, is a partner with other national and international companies for plastic and automatic international roaming voice telecommunication such as Iridium and ICO-Global.

Organisations related to Telecommunications
Government of India Departments under the aegis of Ministry of Communications are as under.

Department of Telecom (DoT)

Department of Telecom (DoT) has its role in policy making, licensing and coordination matters relating to telegraphs, telephones, wireless, data, facsimile and telematic services and other like forms of communications. In addition, DoT is responsible for frequency management in the field of radio communication in close coordination with international bodies. It also enforces wireless regulatory measures for wireless transmission by users in the country.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is the premier telecom service provider of India. BSNL has presence throughout the length and breadth of India. The main functions of BSNL include planning, engineering, installation, maintenance, management and operation of voice and non-voice telecommunications services all over the country.

Telecom Regulatory authority of India(TRAI)

The Telecom Regulatory authority of India(TRAI) was constituted in Feb 1997, as an overall regulatory body to monitor the nation’s telecom services and to sort out disputes among operators and between the Department of Telecommunication(DoT) and private operators.

The Indian Paging Services Association (IPSA) and the Cellular Phone

Association of India (COAI) represent the interests of the paging and cellular phone companies.

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL)
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL)
PowerGrid Corporation of India Limited - (forthcoming projects)
Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) - (forthcoming projects)
Railtel Corporation of India Ltd. (Railtel) - (forthcoming projects)

In the private sector the main players are : -
Bharti Telenet Ltd.
Reliance Telecom Ltd.
Tata Teleservices Ltd.
HFCL Infotel Limited.
Shyam Telelink Limited.
Hughes (I) Ltd.
Global Tele Systems Ltd.
Birla Group, BPL, Hutchinson, RPG, Sterling etc.
Motorola, Nokia, Simens, Philips, Ericsson etc.

Means of telecommunication

Telegraph was the first device to send messages by electricity. Most telegraph messages were sent by tapping out a special code for each letter of the message with a telegraph key. The telegraph changed the dots and dashes of Morse code into electrical impulses and transmitted them over telegraph wires.

A telegram is transmitted over wires to a telegraph office close to the receiver. There the message is removed from the telegraph’s printer and delivered to the receiver in paper form.

Telephone is an instrument that sends and receives sound, usually by means of electricity. In just a few seconds, you can telephone a friend in the same town, in another part of country, or nearly anywhere in the world. The word telephone comes from two Greek words meaning far and sound. Wires that carry sound by electric current connect such telephones to each other. Radiotelephones carry sound by radio waves and are not directly connected to each other by wires.

Radio involves the propagation of electromagnetic waves through space.

Telephoto or Wirephoto is a way of sending pictures by wire or radio. A scanning light at the sending station scans a picture. The light reflected from the picture is converted into an electrical current by a photoelectric cell. At the receiving station, the electric current is converted into a light beam. The light beam then hits a film or photographic paper in proportion to the strength of the current. The picture is reproduced because the film or paper is sensitive to light. After development, the photographic film may be used for contact printing or conventional enlarging. It may also be retransmitted by wire or radio.

Teleprinter is an electromechanical typewriter that transmits electrical impulses over a wire to a receiver, which prints a message. As a typist strikes each key on the transmitter, it achieves a certain combination of electrical impulses that makes a similar letter arm react at the receiving end.

The name television came from a Greek word meaning ‘far’ and a Latin word meaning to ‘see’. Most pictures and sounds received by a TV set are beamed from a TV stations on electronic signals called electromagnetic waves. The television set changes these waves back into pictures and sounds.

The Internet is the network linking hundreds of thousands of individual networks all over the world. The Internet has a range of capabilities that organizations are using to exchange information internally or to communicate externally with other organizations. Internet technology is providing the primary infrastructure for commerce, electronic business, and the emerging digital firm.

Cellular phone:
The cellular phone is the wireless device, which is most commonly used in today’s world of alternative marketing. The user of cell phone has communication facilities like Short Message Service, Internet accessibility. One can even transfer funds, place an order or perform any business transaction while going on the road or where phone line connection doesn’t exist.

Pager is a wireless device, which receive messages in written form. It’s a one-way communication system. Message sender has to just dial a number of the paging network and give them the number of the receiver and message to be passed. That’s all. Now, receiver has the message with him.

Video Phone:
This is the greatest innovation in telecommunication world. It’s like a simple phone but in this one can even see the caller on the screen. So the receiver has the feeling of face-to-face conversation. This system is useful when the receiver is deaf i.e. he can catch the caller’s speech while looking at his lips.

Telecommunication Services

Fixed Service Provider (FSPs)
Government allows interconnection between network/operators and private companies are able to capitalize on the national/international long distance networks. The Government has also allowed the FSPs to provide limited mobility by using WLL technology. Every village was to be provided with one public telephone by December 2002.Accomplishment of this task is the responsibility of both the BSNL as well as the licensed private operating companies.

Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS)
There are 25 private companies operating Cellular Services in 18 Telecom Circles and 4 Metro cities, representing a geographical coverage of 35% in the country. Presently there are two private service operators in each area and a third incumbent state operator. The public sector companies viz. BSNL and MTNL were also issued license for operation of cellular mobile telephone services as the third operator in various parts of the country.

Internet Telephony
There is no restriction on the number on Internet companies and more than 450 companies have commenced services. Internet telephony has been allowed officially from 1 April 2002.
àInternational Long Distance Services
The ILD market in India is worth about £1 bn. The sector has been opened from April 2002. The ILD prices are expected to fall by at least 40-60%. This reduction will be compensated by an increase in volume, driven by increasing globalization, greater telephone penetration and rising number of Indians living and traveling abroad.

National Long Distance Services
In August 2000, the NLD service was finally opened to unrestricted competition. Due to the initial lack of clarity on critical issues like equal access, interconnectivity and last mile access, there were not many takers. With the opening up of the basic services and ILD, companies are now gearing up to provide integrated service.

Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite (GMPCS) Service
Government of India introduced GMPCS service in August 1998 on certain terms and conditions e.g. FDI cap of 49%; location of Gateways in India /maintenance of Gateways with organization designated by the Government; award of licenses on a “first-come-first serve basis” without any limit after clearance of individual proposals for security angle.

Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Service
VSATs in India used to operate on the INSAT series of Satellites on the extended C-band but now the government has allowed Ku-band and also a foreign satellite on the Ku-band front. The Indian VSAT industry is estimated at Rs 3,720 million. India has a total installed base of 6,423 VSATs on the shared hub front.

Public Mobile Radio Trunked Service (PMRTS)
The PMRTS industry in India is still a small and fragmented sector. DoT has come out with guidelines for the migration of existing operators to digital technology and allowing PSTN and inter-site connectivity. Once these guidelines are translated into policy, the process of consolidation in the industry will be catalyzed. During 2000-1 the total PMRTS subscribers’ base was 23,345. The services have already commenced in 31 cities by 21 companies.
The other services available are: Paging Services, Value added services, Voice Mail & Audiotex Service.

Impact of Information Technology on telecommunications

The rapid spread of information technology, combined with the deregulation and upgrading of telecommunications in virtually all countries, has given considerable impetus to the outsourcing of work. This is happening both within and across national boundaries. This phenomenon, described as tele-working, is taking a variety of forms.
The development of tele-working is related to a number of different trends including:
· The introduction of flexible work practices;
· Growth of self-employment and “home offices;”
· Growth of mobile working of different types;
· Policies designed to encourage a reduction in traffic,
combined with peoples’ desires to avoid commuting;
· Growth in tele-mediated services in banking, shopping, etc.;
· Increased tendency of enterprises to outsource work.

Social and Cultural Implications
Telecommunications and information technologies were developed in advanced industrialist societies to serve their needs and interests. These societies needed capital-intensive labour saving technologies to make up for high labour cost and low populations. The new technologies brought about speed, efficiency and a non-polluting environment. As the technologies became chipper with greater volumes of users, business and administration needed fewer and ever fewer workers. The several workers were rendered redundant or were provided part-time jobs. The worst sufferers were women who worked as typist, stenographers, telephone operators, packers, etc. The low-paid jobs were the first to go.
Computer technologies change the nature of work and employment. Work takes on a new orientation related more to the storage, processing, retrieval and distribution of information then to traditional modes of labour and industry. Information is thus turned into a commodity, which has a market price instead of being a public resource and a public good available to all in the community. Further, computer technologies tend to turn work and service into something impersonal, mechanical, routine though less laborious; certainly more efficient, neater, faster but one that lacks the personal touch.
The vulnerability of the new information technologies to attacks by hackers, crackers and viruses as well as to breakdowns without prior warning is rarely touched on. Information Technologies like E-commerce, M-commerce sometimes lead to unemployment also. B’cuz in traditional commerce number of persons are needed to perform any transaction, which can be replaced by a single computer with a single operator. Some bad information and images may sometimes mislead the society.

Telecommunications Convergence Law in India
1. The Convergence Law aims to promote, facilitate and develop in an orderly manner the carriage and content of communications including broadcasting, telecommunications and multimedia. It further aims to establish an autonomous commission to regulate carriage of all forms of communication.
2. The law mandates that no one shall use any part of the spectrum without assignment from the Central Government or the statutory body under the new law namely, the Communications Commission of India.
3. Similarly, owning or providing any network infrastructure facility or providing any network application services without a proper license or registration under the law has been made illegal. It has been mandatory to have a license before possessing any wireless equipment.
4. The law has actually given immense powers of censoring content to the CCI. The CCI has been given the mandatory power to specify programme codes and standards which may include practices to ensure fairness and impartiality of news and other programmes. The basic question as to what is the fairness and impartiality in presentation of news and other programmes has been left at the subjective discretion of the CCI, which has to work under directives of the Government.
5. Towards that end in view, the CCI has been given immense powers. The new law deals with the important issue of licensing or registration of the specified categories of services. The CCI has been empowered to grant licenses in its discretion for five different categories: -

1. To provide or own network infrastructure facilities. This category has been defined by the explanation to include earth stations, cable infrastructure, wireless equipments, towers, posts, ducts and pits used in conjunction with other communication infrastructure, and distribution facilities.
2. To provide networking services. This category has been defined to include bandwidth services, fixed links and mobile links.
3. To provide network application services. This category has been defined to include public switched telephony, public cellular telephony, global mobile personal communication by satellite, internet protocol telephony, radio paging services, public mobile radio services, public switched data services and broadcasting.
4. To provide content application services. This category has been defined to include satellite broadcasting, subscription broadcasting, terrestrial free to air television broadcasting and terrestrial radio broadcasting.
5. To provide value added network application services such as Internet services and unified messaging services. This category has been defined to specifically exclude information technology enabled services. Thus, IT enabled services such as call centers, electronic-commerce, tele-banking, tele-education, tele-trading, tele-medicine, videotext and video conferencing shall not be licensed under the new legislation.

Published: 2006-09-23
Author: Neelam Doshi

About the author or the publisher
I am in the field of Computer Science. I am Working as Faculty member in a Post-graduate College. if you want to know something about M-commerce you can visit my site. Any other query you can mail me at

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