The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is currently working on a unified policy for telecom fiber deployment across the country. Laying optical fiber has been a very big challenge for the telecom companies as well as other communication service providers because of non-uniform policies in different states. According to a Livemint report, DoT is now working on a unified policy on the right of way (RoW) to lay optic fiber cables. This move is to accelerate the rollout of fiber and broadband services across the country in a fast manner.
RoW Policy Must be Updated
Currently, the Indian Telegraphy RoW Rules 2016 are being followed, but they must be updated because the states and central ministries are following their own guidelines, and thus there is a non-uniform policy environment in India. Thus, the telcos have to pay a different price in different states, which can be very expensive in some cases.
Thus, the DoT is working on a new unified policy on the RoW to lay optical fiber and is also seeking a directive from the union cabinet to ensure all the central ministries follow a similar set of rules for allowing the telcos to deploy fiber.
The need for fiberised towers would go up significantly because the data load on a 5G network backhaul is much more than with the 3G and 4G networks. An umbrella policy is needed here so that even the telecom operators can know what to expect and how much cost will be roughly incurred on deploying fiber across India.
The DoT must also work on faster clearance mechanisms, as right now, there are a lot of delays in the clearances for the telcos, which is also affecting the time taken to roll out new services across the country. The industry body, COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India), had also requested the state governments to align their RoW policies with the Indian Telegraphy RoW Rules 2016.