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Urgent need for states to align policy with 'Right of Way' rules: TAIPA

Some metropolitan cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru have already seen cellular network data consumption increase by 70 per cent since the lockdown began, the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association(TAIPA) said.

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Last Updated: Mar 31, 2020, 07.31 PM IST
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New Delhi: Data consumption has surged 30 per cent with businesses switching to work-from-home amid the coronavirus outbreak, and there is an urgent need for states to align their policies with Centre's 'Right of Way' rules, industry body TAIPA said on Tuesday. Some metropolitan cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru have already seen cellular network data consumption increase by 70 per cent since the lockdown began, the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association(TAIPA) said.

"COVID-19 has created an unprecedented crisis across the globe because of which the Government has allowed and directed public and private employees to work from home, which has lead to over 30 per cent increase in data consumption and (this) will continue till lockdown exists," TAIPA said.

TAIPA has written to the telecom secretary, and chief secretary of states in this regard, the statement said adding the association has highlighted that telecom connectivity is pivotal for several essential services and applications amid the nationwide lockdown.

The association said that significance of telecom services is even more as organisations have declared Work from Home and schools/ universities have adopted e-learning.

"The general public is quickly adopting to e-services, OTT platforms, e-commerce and e-governance etc. All this has led to tremendous upsurge in mobile and internet traffic by more than 30 per cent during the lockdown," it said.

To cope with the surge in traffic, the telecom network capacity will have to be enhanced quickly through additional/upgradation of existing infrastructure comprising of telecom towers/ Cell on Wheels/ optical fibre cable (underground and overhead) amongst others.

"To keep the data usage and smooth functioning of telecom services 24/7, the telecom sector needs critical robust infrastructure. With more than 3 years gone, only 16 states out of 36 States/UTs have broadly aligned their policy with Right of Way (RoW) policy 2016," T R Dua, Director-General, TAIPA said.

He said that policy anomaly in the States have deprived the public of seamless network and internet connectivity and would further impede roll-out of new technologies like 5G, in the states.

The right of way (RoW) rules, notified way back in November 2016, provides for a framework to give approvals for setting up of telecom towers and laying of fibre cables, settling of disputes in a time-bound manner, as well as improving coordination between companies and the State government authorities and local bodies. It also prescribes for setting up a web-based online portal for single window clearance mechanism to ensure time-bound approvals. MBI MKJ
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