The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has lauded the amended RoW (right of way) rules 2023. The industry body said that the amended rules are progressive and forward-looking. This puts a clear focus on enhancing the existing 5G ecosystem and expansive digital connectivity for all citizens in India. Let's understand what the amended rules are.
Amended RoW Rules 2023
According to the latest amendments made, the licensees will be allowed to set up temporary overground telegraph infrastructure when their existing underground infra is damaged. This would enable the licensees in ensuring that their services are restored instantly and there's no major disruption to connectivity access for the users. Further, the government won't charge any additional fees for the setup of temporary infrastructure.
The amendments have also added more clarity to the term "street furniture". Now, street furniture is defined as the following: post or pole used for street light, electricity, bus stop, traffic light, traffic sign, taxi stand, tram stop, memorial, lavatory, utility pole, public sculpture, or any other similar structure. This will enable the telcos in rolling out 5G at a faster pace.
Further, the licensees will only need to submit a single application for multiple sites for the establishment of small cells. The government has also allowed the deployment of small cells on buildings and structures by central authorities without any administrative fees. But yes, there will be charges related to power and fixtures provided by building owners.
SP Kochhar, Director General of COAI, said, "We welcome the move by DoT to introduce the new amended RoW rules which is a positive step forward for the industry and will contribute to the faster deployment of 5G services in the country. These forthcoming changes will provide significant advantages to the telecom industry and the digital connectivity provision for the nation. It will enable rapid network reinstatement in the event of underground telecom infrastructure damage, expedite 5G rollout by utilizing the state’s existing infrastructure, simplify application procedures for multiple small cell sites and allocate Central government areas for small cell deployment at no cost. We believe these measures will collectively enhance ease of doing business within the sector, while aiding in expansive network deployments for ubiquitous connectivity across the country."