The amendments include rationalisation of charges, introduction of a single window clearance system and doing away with the need for consent from a government authority for installing infrastructure over private property.
Telecom licensees can enter into agreement with private property owners and will not require any permission from any government authority for installing telecom infrastructure such as towers, poles or optical fibre.
No administrative fee shall be charged by the Central government for the establishment of poles on land owned/controlled by it.
For State/UTs, this fee will be limited to Rs 1,000 per pole. The fee for laying overground optical fibre shall be limited to Rs 1,000/ Km.
Telecom companies will need to submit details of the building or structure, where the establishment of a mobile tower or pole is proposed, and a copy of certification by a structural engineer, authorised by the appropriate authority, attesting to the structural safety of the building or structure, where the mobile tower or pole is proposed to be established.
The amendments provide for a single window clearance system for RoW applications.
Gati Shakti Sanchar Portal of the Ministry of Communications will be the single window portal for all telecom related RoW applications.
The telecom licences will be able to use street infrastructure to deploy telecom equipment at a nominal cost of Rs 150 annually in rural areas and Rs 300 annually in urban areas.
Why are these Amendments Announced?
The Amendments are announced to expedite upgradation and expansion of telecom networks and to pave the way for the deployment of 5G small cells on existing street infrastructure.
The current infrastructure may be able to sustain the rollout of services. However, experts say at least 70 % of the telecom towers need to be fiberized from the current level of 33 % to roll out 5G in a way that utilises its full potential.
Fiberization is essential for 5G due to the increasing data consumption and growth in India compared to the 2G and 3G wireless technologies, which work on a shared network and have a limited capacity to handle an increase in load.
Access to the existing infrastructure, deployment of new infrastructure, and the high cost involved in it were major challenges the telecom sector always came across which will now be eased down.
What is the Significance of the Move?
The telecom industry is giving equal importance to rural areas and urban areas, it is predicted that the 5G services will reach almost all parts of the country in the next 2-3 years.
The Amendment will ensure the speedy roll-out of the technology and make the dream of 5G enable India to come true.