Telecom operators have been facing issues as DoT’s online clearance of installing a new tower is facing technical glitches. As reported by ET Telecom, the technical problem could make the installation of 50,000 towers and base stations intricate if the glitch is not solved soon. Due to the technical glitch in the online clearance, DoT has shifted to manual clearance of applications. Industry executives state that there are nearly 100,000 applications of network tower clearance and base stations which are pending and being manually processed by DoT.
SACFA Approval Process in Manual Mode is Creating Backlog in Approvals
All the major telecom operators are looking for approvals from the standing advisory committee on radio and frequency allocation (SACFA) regarding the height and location of the network towers. SACFA approval is necessary to ensure that network towers are not installed in restricted zones near Airports or don’t result in any radio interference. Rajan Mathews, who is the director general of COAI, stated that sudden shift in SACFA Process from online to manual mode had created a backlog in application approvals.
Lockdown Has Restricted Movement of Personnel
Rajan Mathews also stated that manual approval of SACFA process is challenging due to staff availability issues. Since the government has imposed lockdown to eliminate the threat of COVID-19, the staff movement has been restricted, which is resulting in backlogs of applications. However, DoT is putting all the substantial efforts to resolve the matter quickly and make things normal.
Telcos Urged DoT to Speed up the Clearance Process to 30 Days
Since the lockdown period has been imposed by the government to eliminate the threat of Covid-19, the overall data consumption by users have been increased by nearly 25% as people are working from home and binge-watching various OTT platforms for their entertainment. To cater to the growing demand of stable network, telcos have urged DoT to speed up the clearance process to 30 days which is currently 90 days. In case SACFA Approval process timelines are not met, telcos have urged for faster processing to accelerate network deployment and provide seamless telecom services to users amid lockdown period.