Industry Needs Web-Based Automatic and Timely Approval Process for 5G Preparedness: COAI

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The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Monday said the industry needed a web-based automatic and timely approval process for Right of Way (ROW) for the country to be prepared for 5G connectivity. Right of Way refers to the legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass along a specific route through grounds or property belonging to another. In terms of the telecom industry, it refers to the right to establish infrastructure such as towers and fibre cables.

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Speaking to the reporters of IANS, Rajan Mathews, Director General of the industry body said that there should be no restriction on tower installations as it affects coverage and quality of services of telecom networks.

"Need web-based automatic and timely approval process for ROW for 5G preparedness wherein approximately 1,000 BTS (Base Transceiver Station) are required per square kilometre," according to a COAI presentation.

COAI sought a single window clearance for setting up infrastructure in a time-bound manner and a one time "nominal" administration fee. It further asked for the alignment of all state telecom infrastructure policies with the Department of Telecommunications' RoW Rules, 2016.

Lack of telecom towers and optical fibre, according to Mathews is a major reason of call drops in the country. Other reasons for call drop include "congestion (overloaded cell sites)", weather condition which affects microwave links, faulty handsets, shutting down of mobile towers and sealing by local authorities, the COAI presentation showed.

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