GUWAHATI, Sept 26: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has welcomed several important recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that align with the industry’s long-standing requests. These recommendations are expected to boost the expansion of telecom and broadband services in North-East India, fostering socio-economic and digital progress for citizens.
One of the key recommendations is the complete exemption of Right of Way (RoW) charges in rural, tribal, and hilly regions for a duration of five years. This move aims to encourage Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to invest further in network deployments in less populated areas.
TRAI also recommends prioritizing electricity supply to telecom sites within 15 days of connection requests, and at Utility/Industrial tariff rates, which are lower than the Industrial tariff. Additionally, last mile installation charges for extending electricity connections to remote and hilly telecom sites should be waived or subsidized. The use of renewable energy for telecom is also encouraged through a proposed government scheme to fund renewable energy installations at strategic remote telecom sites.To expedite telecom infrastructure development, provisions are recommended to be incorporated into the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ policy to hasten the accord of environmental clearance to TSPs for installing mobile towers and DG sets for tower locations.
Furthermore, TRAI advises the implementation of earlier recommendations regarding the use of street furniture for small cell and aerial fiber deployment to strengthen 5G deployments.
Lastly, TRAI suggests that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) engage with the Department of Expenditure (DoE) to extend the execution timeline for projects proposed by states under the ‘Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment for FY 2022-23’ scheme, especially those involving the extension of last-mile connectivity using Optical Fiber Cable (OFC). This extension would help ensure that planned development efforts in the region are not disrupted or delayed.
These recommendations, if implemented, have the potential to significantly enhance digital infrastructure and access in North-East India, promoting economic growth and connectivity for its residents.