5G or Fifth Generation Cellular Technology offers faster download and upload speeds, lower latency, and greater network capacity than previous generation wireless technologies. All the new use cases the 5G technology enables help both consumers and enterprises by facilitating the widespread integration of information technology across various sectors, including manufacturing, education, healthcare, agriculture, finance, and social services, which can potentially transform society in India. However, to make this truly possible and make India 5G ready requires robust digital infrastructure deployment across the country, according to Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA).
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Telecom Infrastructure in India
According to DIPA, the telecom infrastructure deployment to facilitate 5G services in India includes Right of Way facilitation, access to Street Furniture including DISCOM (Distribution Companies) infrastructure, Small Cells, Fibre / Radio Backhaul deployment, Electrics Poles, Side walls, Hoardings, Bus shelters, Traffic signals/lights, Metro Rail structures, Poles, roadside/campus infrastructure etc. and high densification of infrastructure.
What is Required for 5G?
For making India 5G ready, 65% of the telecom towers need to be fiberized and 12 lakh telecom towers need to be deployed by FY 2023-24.
Deployed So Far:
As on date, 36% of the telecom towers are fiberized and approximately 7,50,000 towers are deployed in India.
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According to T R Dua, Director General of the Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA), "To meet the growing demand of large Bandwidth, throughput, and ultra-low latency, 65% of the telecom towers need to be fiberized and 12 lakh telecom towers need to be deployed by FY 2023-24. As on date, 36% of the telecom towers are fiberized and approx. 7,50,000 towers are deployed in India. Despite proactive support from Government of India & Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the telecom infrastructure providers are still facing hurdles in faster infrastructure deployment of 5G with issues pertaining to Discoms not following the 5G rollout policy in alignment with the State Central RoW Policy, facility for bulk RoW permission since no of such poles, which may be used for 5G cell deployment may be in thousands."
"It is worthwhile to note that Indian Telegraph Rules, 2016 were released more than 6 years ago and needed major changes to cope with the demand of the 5G rollout. Amendment to the Right of Way 2016 Rules was released in 2022 incorporating policy for Poles and Street Furniture, but at present, only few states, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Sikkim, Tripura, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Assam and Ladakh, have aligned their state policy with Indian Telegraph Right of Way - Amendment Rules, 2022, rest all States/UT's are yet to adopt the policy causing a delay in the creation of robust digital infrastructure and making India 5G ready," Dua added.
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DoT has issued an amendment to ITROW 2016 on August 17, 2022, incorporating provisions for Poles/Street furniture with supportive features and measures for deploying digital infrastructure in the country and fostering the required digital infrastructure.