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Assocham seeks monetisation of unutilised optical fibre infra

Industry body Assocham has requested the government to direct state transmission utilities to take necessary steps to optimise the utilisation and monetisation of their spare optical ground wire capacity.

A passive optical network or optical ground wire is a dual functioning cable. Besides transportation of power, these can be used for telecommunications purposes, Assocham said, adding that various state transmission utilities presently own and operate around one lakh km of such infrastructure with “ample spare optical ground wire (OPGW) capacity”.

In a letter to Power Minister R K Singh, Assocham said “there is a significant opportunity to monetise unutilised passive fibre infrastructure already built… by the various state transmission utilities (STUs).”

The association, in its letter, has requested for directions to STUs to take the necessary steps to optimise the utilisation and monetisation of their spare optical ground wire capacity.

Monetisation of existing unutilised passive fibre infrastructure by the various state transmission utilities will lead to revenue generation for the STUs without any significant financial investments and this will ultimately reduce the electricity tariff paid by the end consumers, the letter said.

This would clearly be a win-win scenario as the end-consumer (Telecommunication Service Providers (TSPs) would gain robust telecom infra without the need to create duplicate infrastructure in remote areas, and the service layer players will be able to leverage a nation-wide interconnected infrastructure network held by the various STUs, the industry body said.

Such a model already exists in Maharashtra where private player Sterlite Power and Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Co Ltd have formed a JV Maharashtra Transmission Communication Infrastructure Ltd or MTCIL.

MTCIL has around 3,350 kms of OPGW network and is providing telecom infrastructure as a service to more than communication service providers in the state.

This model may be emulated across various STUs of the country to maximise revenue potential of their existing unutilised passive infrastructure.

The opportunity is ripe to create an enabling framework to unlock the potential of unused OPGW fibres across the country and the STUs sit at the heart of this opportunity, it said. PTI

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