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DoT asks telcos to share broadband infra in govt buildings

The directive came after the TRAI had recommended to the department last year that all telcos & infrastructure providers must be mandated to share in-building infrastructure in public places, commercial & residential complexes with other providers...

ET Bureau|
Nov 19, 2019, 07.39 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: The department of telecommunications (DoT) has asked all carriers to share among themselves in-building infrastructure in all government and public buildings, a move aimed at increasing competition and giving consumers more choice to select a broadband service provider.

DoT has asked carriers to share infrastructure across airports, railway stations, bus terminals, metro lines and hospitals, besides other public sector buildings. This would take away the need for all service providers to set up their own infrastructure in each building, thus making the system more efficient.

“All TSPs are advised to share the in-building infrastructure (systems, optical fibre, other cables, ducts etc) with other TSPs in all government and public buildings as per terms and conditions of their respective licenses,” a notification from DoT dated November 18 said.

The directive came after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended to the department last year that all telcos and infrastructure providers must be mandated to share in-building infrastructure in public places, commercial and residential complexes with other providers in a transparent, fair and non-discriminatory manner, with a minimum of three operators having a presence in the building.

“Entering into exclusive contracts prohibiting access to other TSPs may be treated as violation of the licence agreement,” the regulator had recommended. The direction from DoT to share infrastructure indicates the ending of exclusive contracts. Telecom service providers would enter into agreements with builders, with exclusivity contracts that allowed the service providers to monopolise coverage in a particular space, industry insiders said. At times, builders would also charge exorbitant prices from telecom service providers, increasing the cost for the end user, or prevent connectivity options from being available, they added.

Trai had suggested that suitable provisions for the creation of Common Telecom Infrastructure (CTI) inside the building should form part of model building bye-laws, and that the National Building Code of India (NBC) should be amended to include essential telecom installations and associated cabling. Builders are not required to provide suitable infrastructure such as ducts, rooms and spaces for telecom infrastructure so far.

A completion certificate for a building should only be granted after ensuring that the CTI is in place and meets prescribed standards, it had further suggested.

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