“We congratulate the Minister Manoj Sinha, DoT Secretary JS Deepak and the department of telecommunications for this historic amendment in the Indian Telegraph Act. The Right of Way (RoW) rules will simplify the process of site acquisition for installation of mobile towers and expedite the provision of requisite infrastructure. The entire industry is appreciative of this move, which is being widely celebrated across the telecom sector as speedy rollout of optical fibre cable (OFC) and over-ground telecom infrastructure are the key to fulfilling the Government’s long-term goal of a Digital India. With the implementation of these new policies, customers can look forward to better connectivity, enhanced broadband speed, reduction in call drops and better services. We firmly believe the new rules will promote the Government’s vision of a digitally connected and a fully empowered India. The rules will further consumers’ interests and encourage smooth coordination between the service providers and State Governments/ local bodies.” - Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI
"We thank the Government of India and the Telecom Ministry for coming out with bold reforms yet again. Along with key policy changes on spectrum harmonization, spectrum trading and sharing, paperless eKYC, the now released Right of Way Rules is another major step in simplifying processes and offering stable regime for future fit investments. This step will help the telecom sector to lay fibre and install towers in all parts of the country with ease, thereby quickly rolling out mobile broadband for all and fulfilling PM ShriNarendra Modi’s dream of Digital India.” - P Balaji, Chairman, National Council on Telecommunication and Convergence
Broadband India Forum
Right of Way guidelines shall help boost both Fixed and Mobile Broadband penetration across the country. Broadband India Forum (BIF) welcomes this trail-blazing initiative by DOT, under the powers vested in it by The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, to propose one set of new, comprehensive, clear, uniform and transparent Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules, 2016 across the entire country to help simplify, streamline and speed up the entire process of ROW approvals, both for underground (optic fibre, cable et) and overground (towers and other outside equipment) infrastructure.
Probably the biggest hurdles to roll-out of OFC and tower infrastructure during the last few years have been the variable and impractical procedures and high levies imposed by different states and local bodies across the country. The BIF believes that the latest Gazette Notification by the DoT, which is firmly rooted inter alia in Clauses 4, 7, 10, 12, 13 and 15 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and lays down clear rules that would provide abundant clarity to greatly resolve these difficulties.
A 60 day limit has been fixed for responding to an application and has also capped the one-time administrative fee leviable at the reasonable level of Rs.1000/- per km of RoW or Rs.10,000/- per tower application. In the event of dispute between the competent authority and the licensee, a dispute resolution mechanism, involving the Central Government, has been specified, in accordance with the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.
Moreover, the GN( Gazette Notofication ) stipulates that the concerned authority must not take more than 60 days from the date of application to either grant permission or deny it. It cannot reject an application without first hearing the company. Rejection can only be clearly quoting reasons. In case of dispute, the decision would be by such Officer as appointed by the Central Government. If the authority fails to give a response within 60 days, the permission will be deemed as granted.
The above-mentioned clear process would itself lead to expeditious roll-out of telecom infrastructure.
BIF believes that this Government Notification, would, in one powerful stroke, pave the way for rapid and cost-effective development of telecom infrastructure which will help boost access to Telecom services and penetration of affordable broadband throughout the country. This single measure will have a significant & measurable net positive impact on Broadband penetration and will help accelerate the vision of achieving " Broadband for all " and the Hon'ble PM's vision of Digital India.
Much of the call drop difficulties have been due to the inability to get the adequate number of correctly-located towers due to lack of proper rules to guide the competent state and local authorities. This need has now been addressed by the Government through this latest initiative. Mobile users could look forward to soon seeing a significant reduction in the call drop problem as well due to increase in number of mobile towers and cell sites leading to better signal coverage. This is likely to be of great assistance to the industry to improve the Quality of Service issues and the overall customer experience.
India is awfully deficient as regards fiber in the ground as compared to China, US, Europe etc. The facilitation of optic fiber connectivity through the underground infrastructure rules will not only enable coping with the current data explosion but, most importantly, will also lay the foundation for the exponential growth of 4G and Internet of Things as well as make possible, the entry of 5G services earlier than expected.
This single decision could well provide a big boost to all the infrastructure projects viz. Bharat Net/Public Wifi etc which are meant for boosting the broadband penetration across the country.
Vihaan Network Limited
“As a member of the telecom fraternity, we hail the RoW (Right of Way) notification issued by the Department of Telecommunications. The notification marks a major milestone in reforms in the Indian telecom sector. It is likely to improve the ease of doing business as it will create conditions for enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and curtailing cost of operations. We expect the notification to have a far-reaching impact on almost all aspects of operations in the field of telecom infrastructure, from pricing of installation to seeking permission from local urban bodies when laying out optic fibre. This development will play a role in bridging the Digital Divide between urban and rural India and will enable the telecom fraternity to play a decisive role in fulfilling our Prime Minister’s dream of Digital India.” - Sanjeev Kakkar, President & CSO, Vihaan Network Ltd (VNL)
“The much awaited RoW policy is valuable for the creation of smarter data networks – the backbone of information highways in India. This new policy addresses transparency in payments and brings predictability in approvals. We believe the policy will not only streamline the permission procedure but also enable us in timely deployment of smarter optical fibre networks in a transparent manner. These broadband highways will connect rural India (through BharatNet) to urban (Smart Cities) regions, becoming a strong foundation to realise the Digital India targets.
Highlights of the newly notified rules, apart from the 60-day grant limit, are the setting up of the electronic application process, standardisation of administrative costs and positional intelligence (GIS mapping) on underground infrastructure.
With India surpassing the United States to become the second largest internet market riding on demand from high-internet consuming applications and booming population, the need for high-speed broadband infrastructure riding on smarter networks has become critical. The RoW policy is a progressive step towards bringing India on par to global infrastructure standards, boosting internet economy of the country and will act as critical component to predictable delivery of 25-year Sterlite Tech Smarter Networks.” - Dr. Anand Agarwal, CEO & Director, Sterlite Tech Ltd