Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), industry association for leading telecommunication infrastructure providers such as Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers, ATC Towers, GTL Infrastructure, Reliance Infratel and Tower vision, highlighted that after Assam, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya state have become the 4th state in North East region to align with Honourable Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India by notifying a state policy for fast-tracking the roll out of telecom infrastructure which will eventually develop a robust telecom infrastructure extending ubiquitous network connectivity across the state.
The much-awaited state Right of Way rules have been notified by Meghalaya Government on 21st December 2018 that are aligned with Right of Way rules, 2016 notified by the Central Government and will be effective from 15th January 2019. The Right of Way rules, 2016 offers salient features such as no restriction on the location of telecom towers, single window clearance mechanism, defined time-period for approvals, deemed approvals, the appointment of Nodal officers, nominal administrative fees and deemed approval etc. extensively supporting the Digital India mission by simplifying and expediting the telecom infrastructure rollout.
While sharing the announcement, Mr. Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, TAIPA said “We would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Conrad Sangma and IT department of Meghalaya for prioritising the rollout of telecom infrastructure across the state by notifying the state Right of Way rules with enabling provisions. In order to expedite the telecom infrastructure rollout, various meetings were organized under his chairmanship to resolve the issues and concerns of the telecom industry. The new policy will ensure smooth provisioning of telecom infrastructure transforming the state into digital Meghalaya.”
Before the notification of state policy, the telecom infrastructure industry was struggling with multiple/high fees & levies, absence of single- window clearance and absence of sites in government lands and buildings etc. The newly formed government addressed all the issues and concerns of the industry in order to expedite the telecom infrastructure rollout across the state.
For other states, Mr. Dua added “We appeal Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram to notify a state tower policy immediately which is aligned with Right of Way rules, 2016 notified by central government, if they wish to empower their citizens with the enormous power of internet responsible for socio-economic growth.”
Currently, In North-East there are around 7184 mobile towers which needs to doubled up in the forthcoming time to support emerging technologies. Further, Meghalaya alone, there are identified 2374 villages which requires 2162 new mobile towers for basic network connectivity. The state tower policy which is aligned with Right of Way rules, 2016 will extensively help to boost the telecom network and to ensure connectivity to masses across the state in the far-flung areas.
Under the visionary leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has given special focus on the North East region as it has difficult terrain, scattered habitation and insurgency government has already initiated projects under USOF schemes.