The online portal will allow telecom infrastructure providers and the government to keep a check on the process, right from filing of application till final approval
Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that it will work with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to unveil an online portal for monitoring the applications and approvals to set up telecom infrastructure. It will also monitor whether Right of Way (RoW) rules are being followed across all the states.
The online portal will allow telecom infrastructure providers and the government to keep a check on the progress of process, right from filing of application till the final approval of the project, reported a leading Indian news portal.
Online process to bring down approval time
Rajan Mathews, Director General, COAI, said, “Currently, a telecom infrastructure provider in India has to get 10-12 types of approvals. This is a time-consuming process and if done manually, it could take up to nine months. Every Indian state follows its own protocol for laying fibre and establishing telecom towers. Therefore, we are recommending that this should be monitored online on a state-wise basis.”
If the government authorities do not provide approval within 60 days of the application, it should be considered approved, he added.
“Haryana and Jharkhand have already been started working on the online process for RoW. Uttar Pradesh and Odisha are also working on the online mechanism. We expect that the remaining states would also follow the suit,” said Mathews.
Telecom operators have been complaining that the municipal authorities take a lot of time in processing applications, which result in slower implementation of networks. This in turn, results in a not so good network quality experience for consumers. For instance, there are around 150 new build sites still pending for approval from the municipal bodies in Delhi, the industry body said.
Shortage of telecom towers
There is a severe shortage of fibre network and telecom towers in India. The country has 500,000 telecom towers. According to Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), India is short of around 100,000 telecom towers.
The country will require 1.2 million telecom towers by 2020 in order to cater to the increasing data demand, as per industry estimates.