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TRAI starts pilot program to utilize street furniture in 5G infrastructure

“TRAI has started carrying out pilot projects for the roll-out of street furniture in different parts of the country,” an industry source said, adding that the sector regulator is currently carrying out the pilot project at four locations, including Kandla Port in Gujarat, Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi, Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation and Bhopal city.

The development comes close to the heels of the telecommunications department’s (DoT) initiative to set up a committee to review the availability of street furniture for seamless 5G networks following Kerala’s proposal to use street furniture efficiently, including electric poles for rolling out telecommunications infrastructure.

The department has already begun considering the use of ‘street furniture’ to closely develop next-generation telecommunications infrastructure to overcome Right-of-Way (RoW) challenges, and an internal committee is currently reviewing the availability of street furniture to leverage the seamless 5G network in other states.

“Kerala has become the first state to adopt the use of street furniture, including electric poles for the deployment of the 5G network. Various meetings are held by the telecommunications department to involve other states as well. Infrastructure providers are actively involved in the whole process.” said Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA).

The Delhi-based group of telecommunications infrastructure providers said the efficient implementation of street furniture such as bus stops, supply poles or any other street-level infrastructure that can house wireless equipment suggests highly efficient tools in mobile carriers’ toolboxes to bring their networks closer to end customers.

To accelerate the availability of 5G-ready infrastructure, the department leaves no stone unturned and actively promotes the use of street furniture such as traffic signals, lighted signs, lampposts, telephone boxes, light poles for sports fields, mailboxes, park benches, auxiliary poles and billboards for rolling out small cells network.

In the 5G context, I think we can demand a greater amount of political support, essentially because a number of small cells need to be set up under the rapid infrastructure initiative, including lamp masts. We have set up a committee working with state governments and discoms (power distribution companies), ”said K. Rajaraman, secretary, DoT earlier.

In January, TRAI chairman PD Vaghela said the industry should conduct pilot studies using street furniture to assess the viability of implementing small cells, adding that a cross-sectoral approach could help accelerate network deployment.

“With India still unprepared for commercial 5G rollout, the government will need to provide easy access to operators of public infrastructure such as street lights, traffic lights, metro columns, electric poles, public buildings or rooftops to install small cells on non-discriminatory terms,” said Dua.

The Infrastructure Agency also said that there is a need to streamline guidelines for the development of future street infrastructure to support small cells and air fibers, and the sharing of small cell sites should be allowed according to the IP registration already recommended by the sector regulator.

“Since it is an optimal solution for 5G coverage, small cells continue to face certain bottlenecks and should be managed to maintain network quality and connectivity,” said DIPA’s CEO, adding that some of the existing pain points include cumbersome licensing process from discoms and municipal agencies. , inconsistent RoW policy at the state level and high rents.

The division is likely to auction off 5G ethers by the middle of this year, and after frequency allocation to telecommunications companies, the commercial rollouts are expected in early 2023.

CT Bureau

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