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70% telecom towers to be fiberised to serve 5G requirements, DIPA

At present around 33% of telecom towers are connected on fiber in India which needs to be enhanced to at least at least 70% of the towers to be fiberized to serve 5G requirements. National Broadband Mission, which was launched in December 2019, envisages 70% fiberisation within 5 years’ time, by 2024.

In order to make 5G a success story in India, it is essential to invest on network densification heavily through provisioning of fiber, small cells and mobile towers.

For faster rollout of 5G in the country, sharing of fiber should be mandatory which will save the operational costs of the telecom operators as well.

According to T.R.Dua, Director-General, Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA),” Fiberisation would play an essential role in getting India ready for 5G. While the current capacity per tower site is about 200 mbps for 2G/3G/4G services, for 5G service, the capacity needed for each site will increase to 1-5 Gbps, which will require fiberized backhaul. At present, the fibre connectivity to the telecom tower stands at 31% on pan India basis. The National Broadband mission has envisaged the Fibre to the Tower % to grow to 70% by 2024 in order to support 5G.”

Currently, out of 2,30,7068 Base transceiver station (BTS), only 793551 BTS are connected to fibre accounting to total 34.4% in the country. Some of the big name states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar , Gujarat are merely 30% fiber connected , way far behind the set target of 70% and few states like Himachal Pradesh are not even 30% fibre connected presently.

As per E&Y report in 2019, the capex requirement would be around Rs 45, 000 Crore to reach 70% tower fiberisation by 2024.

Roll-out of new technologies like 5G requires mushrooming of small cells and fiberization of the networks which will entail substantial amounts of fresh investments across the country- could be facilitated through enhancement of scope of IP-1 enabling active infrastructure sharing which can be an effective mechanism to attract the much needs funds and enable faster rollout of 5G network.”

CT Bureau

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