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Jio Seeks Sectoral Sops For Fibre Deployment

Reliance Jio Infocomm has sought incentives for the telecom industry to encourage fibre deployments, a critical infrastructure for the commercial roll-outs of fifth-generation networks.

“The government should draw out incentives so that operators are not challenged to deliver on fibre, which is a critical element for India’s digital growth and story,” Reliance Jio president Mathew Oommen told ET.

Such incentives could be in the form of a conducive policy to attract more investments in building fibre infrastructure by all telcos, as well as uniform and reasonable right of way policies with timely approvals, Oommen said. The service providers should use incentives for creating a deeper fibre network, he added.

Reliance Jio, on its part, is aggressively building a fibre network, as it aims to deliver fibre-to-home services, dubbed as Jio GigaFiber, even as it is also working on the 5G technology.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents all of India’s private sector telcos, and Reliance Jio thus appear to be on the same page on another issue — besides the demand to reduce the base price of 5G airwaves — as historically the two have been at loggerheads on most matters.

“Private players should be incentivised to roll out fibre through tax incentives, rationalisation and easy investments,” COAI had recently said.

Anand Agarwal, group chief executive of telecom equipment maker Sterlite Technologies, said India should put in place a fibre fund, in addition to offering low-interest loans, to facilitate initiatives by telecom carriers, internet service providers and tower firms, and that should be operational by at least mid-2019. “A significant amount needs to go into fiberisation or fiber densification,” he added.

The National Digital Communications Policy, unveiled in September 2018, has accorded optic fibre cables the status of ‘public utility’. It lays much emphasis on the fibrefirst initiative. ―Gadgets Now

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