Govt does away with need for approval for laying telecom infra on private properties


Telecom companies will not require approval from authorities for laying cables or installing mobile towers or poles over private properties, according to new Right of Way (RoW) Rules notified by the government recently.

The government also notified rules for using electric poles and foot over bridges for installation of small mobile radio antennas or laying overhead telecom cables along with charges to ease the rollout of telecom networks, especially 5G services.

“Where the licensee proposes the establishment of overground telegraph infrastructure over any private property, the licensee shall not require any permission from the appropriate authority,” said the notification dated August 17.

Speaking to mediapersons on Thursday, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister for Communications and IT, said the government has developed a scheme in the RoW portal, where the State governments and major infrastructure Ministries such as Railways, Highways have joined to work together.

“Now, anybody who wants to install a tower, pole, lay fiber, they can all apply on one common portal and a very simplified process has been created…the average time require to set up a telecom infrastructure used to be 343 days, now that has come down to 16 days. So, that is the impact of the Prime Minister’s reforms, and we are committed to doing similar reforms,” he said.

He said the entire telecom industry is now ready to rollout 5G very quickly and not only in cities, but also in the rural areas throughout the country.

However, telecom service providers (TSPs) companies will need to submit an intimation, in writing, to the appropriate authority, prior to the establishment of a mobile tower or pole over a private building or structure, according to the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2022.

In their intimation to government authorities, TSPs will need to submit details of the building or structure, where the establishment of a mobile tower or pole is proposed, and a copy of certification by a structural engineer, authorised by the appropriate authority, attesting to the structural safety of the building or structure, where the mobile tower or pole is proposed to be established.

Also, TSPs using street furniture for the installation of small cells will be required to pay ₹300 per annum in urban areas and ₹150 per annum in rural areas per street furniture, the notification said, adding that for installing cable using street furniture, the telcos will be required to pay ₹100 per annum per street furniture.

“As the country is set to witness the 5G technology, The Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2022 will ensure the speedy roll-out of the technology and make the dream of 5G enabled India comes true. Access to the existing infrastructure, deployment of new infrastructure, and the high cost involved in it were major challenges the telecom sector always came across which will now be eased down,” said SP Kochhar, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

This is a significant stage towards making a robust mechanism to achieve the goal of ‘Broadband to All’, as visualised in the National Digital Communication Policy-2018. As India is at the cusp of launching 5G innovation, which requires network densification, RoW and the use of street furniture for the deployment of small cells will meet a significant role, he added.

Published on

August 25, 2022

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