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Industry Opposes Karnataka’s Mobile Tower Policy

The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (Taipa) has opposed the implementation of the state government’s Installation of New Telecommunication Infrastructure Towers Regulations, 2015, arguing that its draft policy has several unimplementable provisions.

It is at present lobbying for the government to reconsider some of the rules under the policy. The government is yet to notify these rules.

In a statement, Taipa said: “The draft policy imposes several issues such as restriction on the location of towers, requirements of multiple documents and no-objection certificates, non-availability of government land and buildings, exorbitant fees ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000.”

It also lacks provisions to install in-building solutions, which is used to distribute the cellular signal within a building, and cell-on-wheels technology, which helps provide a temporary network through a portable mobile cellular site.

Taipa director general Tilak Raj Dua even met with the state chief secretary to discuss some of these issues. Whether or not the government assured anything could not be confirmed immediately.

“We’d numerous meetings with the government over the past three years. Karnataka is an IT state but is lagging behind many states like Odisha in terms of infrastructure. And these rules impede the growth further. Whatever towers we have in Karnataka today is not enough. We’ll need double the number, but several restriction clauses have been hurting the industry and the state,” Dua told STOI.

The statement further reiterated that the despite concerns having been highlighted by the industry for more than two years, the authorities have not been considering it.

“Karnataka has still not adopted the provisions stipulated in Right of Way Rules, 2016 crafted by the Centre to develop a robust telecom infrastructure, which is fundamental for basic network connectivity and futuristic technologies such as 5G, internet of things (IoT), machine-to-machine technologies (M2M), artificial intelligence and virtual reality,” the statement read.

The industry argues that the Right of Way Rules, 2016 have salient features such as no restriction on the location of telecom towers, single window clearance mechanism, defined time period for approvals, deemed approvals, appointment of nodal officers and nominal administrative fees, which are crucial for the country’s Digital India mission.―Times of India

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