Picture this. You are on the metro or some weird place where you can’t find even an ounce of the network. Those 5 little network sticks are betraying you in every way possible. And just in time, you have a heavy PDF to download from this website. Perfect timing isn’t it? The universe is against you. If only you could download the PDF offline to save this mess of a day! Well, guess what! You are in luck! How did you ask? India’s Direct-To-Mobile Broadcasting Technology (D2M Technology).
To broadcast video and other multimedia information directly to mobile phones without an active internet connection, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and India’s public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati are investigating the viability of the technology. The “direct-to-mobile” (D2M) broadcasting technology claims to increase broadband usage and spectrum efficiency.
What is Direct-To-Mobile Broadcasting?
Similar to how FM Radio works, the D2M Broadcasting technology will enable consumers to download multimedia files directly to their mobile devices without needing a working internet connection. With the help of this indigenous technology, the Government of India hopes to provide information to the public directly, combat false news, send out emergency notifications, and aid in disaster management.
As a country that had 1.2 billion mobile subscribers and sim-holders in 2021, of which about 750 million are smartphone users, the need and possibilities of a technology like this are insane. With so many smartphones being used, the country has 4G connectivity and plans to roll out 5G in the next few years.
With a population and phone usage that huge, it increases the load on servers and network providers. Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced and shared every single day. It is important for the emergence of a technology that would help emergency messages, opportunities, and other important updates reach those who don’t have access to the internet, momentarily or permanently.
This would enable telecoms and internet service providers to free up valuable mobile spectrum by allowing them to transfer video traffic from their mobile network onto the broadcast network. By offloading video traffic, the mobile spectrum will be better utilized.
Another obstacle that could be tackled through this technology is the threat of fake news and updates being shared around. If people would get credible information made available to them with no network or connectivity hassles, they’d be aware of updates, opportunities, and facts.
To evaluate the viability of the D2M technology, public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati also established a partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur last year.
In New Delhi earlier this month, IIT Kanpur hosted a symposium on “Direct-to-Mobile & 5G Broadband – Convergence Roadmap for India” with the help of Prasar Bharati and TSDSI (Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India).
“It’s an indigenous ‘Made in India’ technology, and it is the first of its kind in the world. D2M is going to revolutionize content delivery, especially video content. Consumers today are watching videos on their phones; most of the things are consumed on phones, and with D2M tech, they would be able to receive video content without having to pay for data plans,” Parag Naik, CEO, Saankhya Labs told Prachar Bharati News Services.
The government’s biggest issue is getting all the necessary parties, including the telcos, on board to launch D2M technology widely.
The government must also overcome the infrastructure obstacles if it wants to implement the technology widely. It won’t be simple to make technology accessible to everyone in the nation.