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, appreciated the efforts by Uttarakhand Government for notifying a comprehensive telecom infrastructure policy dated 26th November 2018 which is more or less aligned with Right of rules, 2016 notified by Central Government in order to ensure seamless deployment of mobile towers and fibre across the state to match the growing data demands eventually adding momentum to achieve the Digital India mission. However, the policy imposes sharing fee of 5000 rupees per service provider which is not as per the rules laid under the RoW rules, 2016 and TAIPA is writing back to the authorities in order to streamline the same.
The tower policy has salient features such as permission for Cell on Wheels (CoW), Nodal Officer to be appointed by the appropriate authorities for providing clearance of permissions, no location-based restriction for installation the mobile towers, 60 days’timeline for clearance of application, no Coercive action against towers without consent from TERM cell related to EMF issues, online right of way portal to be developed within one year for ensuring timely approvals of applications and no Coercive action against towers without consent from TERM cell related to EMF issues etc.
The notified tower policy mentions 1,000 rupees administrative charges for over-ground telecom infrastructure, 5,000 rupees as one-time permission charges and 1,000 rupees per kilometre for underground infrastructure i.e. fibre. Further, the policy ensures strict legal action under relevant sections of Indian Telegraph Act 1885 and IPC to be initiated against any wilful or negligent damage to the telecom infrastructure facility and causing interruption to the network connectivity.
While appreciating the efforts, Mr. Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, TAIPA said “The Uttarakhand tower policy is a comprehensive document which will ensure seamless provisioning of mobile towers and fibre across the state. The policy indeed will be able to address issues such as call drops, network outage and connectivity gaps etc. By aligning the policy with Right of rules, 2016 issued by Central Government, the Uttarakhand government has joined the race of turning Digital Uttarakhand in line with Indian Government’s visioninto a reality. The policy imposes sharing fee of 5000 rupees per service provider which is not as per RoW rules, 2016 for which we are requesting the authorities to align the same with the Central guidelines. Further, other Indian States such as Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka etc. need to emulate such provisions and notify policies for their respective states. TAIPA congratulates Uttarakhand government for formulating such a supportive and comprehensive policy.”
Telecommunication in India has emerged as a key driver of economic and social development in an increasingly knowledge intensive global scenario. The Indian telecommunication sector has undergone a revolutionary transition in the last two decades to become the World’s second largest telecommunication market with more than 1.1 billion subscribers connected through 5 lakh towers mounted with over 20 lakh BTSs. As per the government report, the mobile sector’s contribution to GDP which is presently 6.5 percent and will increase to 8.2 percent by 2020.