In a move that will help in a faster rollout of telecom services, nine States and two Union Territories agreed to the uniform pricing on Right of Way (RoW) in telecom.
The States that agreed to the RoW rules, notified in November 2016, were Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Gujarat, while Puducherry and Lakshadweep were the UTs.
The alignment of the States and UTs came at the review meeting on the progress of the National Broadband Mission (NBM) held by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) over video-conferencing on Tuesday.
“The uniform pricing under RoW Policy is a one-time permission fee of ₹10,000 per mobile tower and ₹1,000 per km for laying fibre. As of now, this differs from State to State. Even after three years of its notification, only 16 States have broadly aligned their policy with RoW Policy,” T.R. Dua, Director-General, Tower &Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) told BusinessLine.
The RoW is a framework for setting up of telecom towers, laying of fibre cables, settling disputes in a time-bound manner and improving coordination between companies, State governments and local bodies.
At present, different states have different rules and pricing for installation of towers and putting optical fibre in the ground.
Certain operational issues such as pending permissions for new telecom towers, non-availability of a single-window online portal, pending electricity, rationalisation of property tax and electricity tariff reduction among others were also discussed.
The NBM would help in faster growth of the digital communications infrastructure in India, which will provide affordable and universal broadband access.
TAIPA members include Indus Towers, ATC Telecom Infrastructure, Bharti Infratel and Tower Vision, and counts Sterlite Technologies, Space Telelink, Applied Solar Technologies and Coslight India as associate members.