The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) of Union Ministry of Communications has decided to expedite the approvals for quick broadband rollout across India. The DoT convened a meeting, chaired by telecom secretary K Rajaraman with the IT secretaries of states and DoT officers from head office and field units. Additional telecom secretary Hari Ranjan Rao and telecom Director-General Nizamul Haq and other senior DoT officials also attended the meeting.
During the course of this meeting, telecom secretary emphasised that there should be no delays in granting of Right of Way (RoW) permissions as this can act as a roadblock in growth of communication services. Rajaraman explained the correlation between low broadband penetration and non-alignment of RoW rules in the same state/LSA. He also mentioned this problem could worsen in light of the planned 5G rollout, as per a Communications Ministry release.
The telecom secretary directed all field units of the DoT to conduct monthly meets with service providers to review application approval process and pendency and to also pursue the same with the State/Municipal authorities. Secretaries and Heads of Department of State Governments were also requested to facilitate speedy disposal of RoW applications in their respective States. State Broadband Committees were also requested for their intervention as per the state policy laid down in Central RoW Rule-2016.
Prompt RoW approvals will also ensure that telcos and infrastructure companies can lay optical fibre cables and install new towers to ensure quick broadband rollout. The DoT has also decided to review the grant of approvals at regular intervals with participation of COAI, DIPA, etc. and has urged the State Governments to expedite the process of approving RoWs in keeping with the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules, 2016.
Besides this, the Department of Telecom has also taken various steps to ensure easy access to broadband for citizens like coming out with the National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) and ensuring implementation of the National Broadband Mission.
“Department of Telecom has taken various initiatives for ease of doing business and to increase the penetration of Broadband Internet to ease the lives of citizens by coming out with new policies like National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) and implementation of the National Broadband Mission which is expected to catapult India to the next phase of Digital revolution thereby enabling inclusive participation of all citizens to create a truly digital society. Outcomes of National Broadband Mission envisages fulfilling the vision of “Broadband for All’ and fulfill the goals of the NDCP 2018, Digital India Programme and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’,” the release stated. BusinessToday