India needs another 1 lakh telecom towers immediately: TAIPA

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The Indian telecom sector needs to add another 1 lakh towers and implement the Right of Way (RoW) policy announced in 2016 immediately to provide quality services to more than 1 billion subscribers.“With the increase in data consumption and Work From Home (WFH) policy being adapted by many companies in India till 2020-end, we do need additional deployment of telecom towers,” T.R. Dua, Director-General, Tower & Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), told BusinessLine.At present, India has 5.93-lakh telecom towers.There is an urgent requirement to align the telecom infrastructure policy to create a critical infrastructure to cater to the situation in some states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, Kerala, Puducherry, Punjab and Chhattisgarh, he said.A number of States are also not permitting installation of new sites, even though maintenance activities are being allowed, he added.The RoW rules were floated in November 2016 to provide approvals for setting up of towers, laying of fibre cables and settle disputes in a time-bound manner. They were also intended to improve coordination among companies, State governments and local bodies. However, since 2016, only 16 states out of 29 States and 7 Union Territories have broadly aligned with Row policy 2016, Dua said.On Wednesday, TAIPA wrote to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) secretary seeking his intervention in faster implementation of RoW policy. The industry body also sought immediate implementation of ‘Enhancement of Scope of IP-I’ policy announced on March 13, 2020, which permits active infrastructure sharing in the country.TAIPA members include Indus Towers, ATC Telecom Infrastructure, Bharti Infratel and Tower Vision, and counts Sterlite Technologies, Space Telelink, Applied Solar Technologies and Coslight India as associate members.

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