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Lack of a robust tower policy hindering telecom infrastructure growth in MP, says TAIPA

January 10, 2018
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The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) has highlighted that the draft policy of Madhya Pradesh (MP) is pending for notification since 2015. Government programmes such as Digital India and Smart cities are severely impacted due to the absence of uniform comprehensive tower policy. Other bottlenecks that hinders the development of a sustainable ecosystem for tower installation in Madhya Pradesh include - lack of single window clearance and the need to obtain multiple no objection certificates. Further, the permission of tower installation is limited to a period of 5 years only.

“The development of robust telecom infrastructure is the bedrock for achieving government’s transformational reforms such as Digital India, e-governance, Smart Cities and cashless economy. Hence, we request state authorities to align their state policy with DoT guidelines dated 2013 or RoW policy dated November 2016 which will eventually help realising the dream of Digital India.”, comments Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, TAIPA.

However, the MP draft tower policy is not aligned with the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) Indian Telegraph Right of Way (RoW) policy notified by central government in November, 2016.  The RoW policy has enabling features such as no restriction on location of telecom towers, single window clearance mechanism, defined time-period for approvals, appointment of Nodal officers, nominal administrative fees and deemed approval, among others extensively supporting the Digital India mission.

While highlighting the issue, Dua said, “The states should align their policies with guidelines issued by centre in order to ensure deployment of critical telecom tower infrastructure across the state. Issues such as call drops, network outage and connectivity gaps are being faced by the subscribers due to the number of limitations imposed on the mobile tower installation, hindering tower installations across the state.”

The telecom industry has also highlighted through a number of representations and submissions to respective authorities for notifying a comprehensive tower policy for MP which addresses the provisioning of seamless telecom infrastructure rollout aligned with the RoW policy. Meanwhile, it is worth highlighting that states such as Jharkhand, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan and Kerala have aligned their tower policies with the central government guidelines.

Currently, Madhya Pradesh has more than 31,207 mobile towers mounted with more than 98,540 base transceiver stations (BTSs) serving 71.6 million wireless telecommunication subscribers. In the near future, the state needs to significantly increase the tower and BTS count in order to connect the unconnected, to ensure seamless network connectivity and rollout future technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality and Artificial intelligence.

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