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COAI applauds HP govt for clarified OFC laying charges

COAI, the representative body for the Indian telecommunications industry, applauds the clarification provided by the Himachal Pradesh Government regarding the charges for laying of OFC.

As per the Himachal Pradesh Right of Way Policy, 2021 (HPROW-21), the local authorities should levy “a non-refundable fee of INR 1000/kilometer to meet administrative expenses”. Further, it is stated in the policy that “Provided that no other charges, (except restoration charges and relevant administrative charges prescribed) shall be levied on the licensee”. However, the local municipalities were charging high amount between Rs. 1500 per Km to 2700 per KM in various areas. This was hindering the roll-out of digital infrastructure by increasing the overall cost of deployment of Telecom Optical Fiber cable across the state.

The Department of Information Technology, Government of Himachal Pradesh via order has issued an order mentioning that there is a provision of only onetime administrative charges for overground telecom infrastructure @ Rs 1,000 per application and Rs 1000/Km for underground telecom infrastructure. These charges are to be paid by the TSPs/ ISPs at the time of submission of the application form while seeking NoC from the appropriate authority. The concerned department can charge annual rental only in the case when the proposed tower is to be erected on government land/ building.

On the clarification, Lt. Gen. Dr SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI, said, “The industry is committed to providing world-class connectivity. However, unfortunately, the RoW charges charged by various Municipal Corporations and Local Bodies were quite prohibitive and are in contravention with the Himachal Pradesh Right of Way Policy, 2021 (HPROW-21) overall impacting the planning and roll-outs of telecom infrastructure in the state. We thank the State Government of Himachal Pradesh for issuing clarification regarding one-time charges being levied for the deployment of telecom OFC, making the roll-out of Optical Fiber Cable across the state more cost-effective for the future. This clarification will further facilitate the speedy roll-out of telecom infrastructure to make Himachal Pradesh Digitally more advanced.”

Ever since the introduction of the 4G network in the country, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of mobile subscribers. Lakhs of mobile towers were installed for 4G networks across the country, which is still continuing. To deliver best in class connectivity experience across the State, Telecom Service Providers have rolled out 4G, are now planning for 5G, optimizing telecom sites, deploying fibre, augmenting; Installing IBS solutions to improve and strengthen the indoor coverage, wherever possible. Telecom Service providers are setting up additional infrastructures for optimizing user experience and in this development, the use of Street Infrastructure such as EB poles for deploying aerial fibre plays a very vital role.

This order will further help to realisation of the ‘Gati Shakti’ vision by meeting the targets set under National Broadband Mission Targets, increasing the Broadband penetration, providing internet & Broadband services to the citizens, improving the connectivity and capacity, and developing a robust Telecom/Digital Infrastructure in the State.

CT Bureau

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