Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA) an apex industry body of digital infrastructure providers has written to Alok Kumar, The Secretary, Ministry of Power, Government of India, regarding Levy of electricity tariffs for Telecom Infrastructure Providers (IPs-1) under Industrial category instead of Commercial category.
As you are aware, the nation is on the cusp of 5G deployment with the spectrum auctions scheduled later this month. The availability of 5G networks would necessarily require network densification in the form of several low distance small cells rather than grand tower/masts. Additionally enhanced fiberization is a must for 5G services and to achieve the National Broadband Mission (NBM) Targets of 50 lakh kms fiberization, 70% tower fiberization and 50Mbps speed of broadband. This would entail heavy Capex, thus raising the cost of telecom services leading to a greater digital divide.
According to T.R.Dua, Director-General, Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA),” It is right time to review the electricity tariffs which are being charged at exorbitant rates under commercial category on a nationwide basis. As of now Maharashtra is the only State to have implemented the levy on industrial rates. The recently issued recommendation of the working group of “Regulators of Telecom and Electricity”, also recommends industrial/utility tariff for telecom. Further, telecom services need to be provided uninterrupted power supply.”
Presently there are more than 7 lakh towers deployed in the country which as per National Broadband Mission targets are to shoot up to approximately 12 lakhs by end 2023 and 15 lakhs by end 2024. Additionally with launch of 5G, several small cells would be deployed mostly using street furniture. Almost 30% of the Opex for these towers goes into electricity tariffs which works out to be a substantial amount. Also, in absence of 24×7 power availability the IPs-1 are forced to use DG Sets to ensure continuity of telecom services to the subscribers. This leads to additional financial burden and also causing environmental degradation.
It is our humble submission to give a considerate view and implement this colossal much awaited Reforms which would further facilitate affordability of telecom services and bridge the digital divide, Dua further added.