Telecom Towers Seek BharatNet’s Aid to Boost their Capacity

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Telecom towers in India are in talks with the government to reach the global standard of 70-80 per cent from the current 25 per cent fiberized towers

Telecom tower companies are eyeing to lease out fibre from the broadband network, BharatNet to increase their capacity with the increasing consumption of data services. According to reports, the telecom tower entities are in talks with the government for the purpose. They are also seeking concessions in leasing rates.

The idea is to initially lease out fibre from gram panchayats and then transfer it to the towers. The government plans to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through the BharatNet project. The first phase of connecting1 lakh gram panchayats under the initiative is over. The second phase is slated to be completed by March 2019.

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BharatNet advantage

Experts, reportedly, said that the association to lease out fibre from BharatNet would enable telecom entities to provide improved quality of data services and network coverage, including 4G as fibre had more capacity and could reach out to a wider range. Costs of laying down the telecom firms’ respective fibres would also come down to 30-50 per cent. Using fibre would also serve as a support to the new-age technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communications.

Fiberized towers

Around 25 per cent of telecom towers is fiberized in India against the global standard of 70-80 per cent. An End-to-end IP network and strong fibre will meet the capacity demands with growing use of data according to experts. They believe that 4G and later 5G services can be delivered efficiently only when India achieves the global standards.

Tilak Raj Dua, director general, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (Taipa), said that India’s 25 per cent fiberized towers would stand at $2.6 billion by FY2020. He added that the towers would rise from the current 90,000 to 3,30,000 by FY2020. He further informed that Taipa and the telecom department discussed the role of infrastructure providers in the BharatNet initiative.

There is an additional need of 100,000 towers to the existing 471,000 towers to cater to the rising mobile data consumption in India.

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