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Identification, redressal of challenges critical for pervasive digital infrastructure: Dipa

NEW DELHI: Timely identification and redressal of pain points being faced by the telecom sector would be imperative to facilitate rollout of digital infrastructure countrywide, a telecom group said.

“The faster rollout of digital infrastructure becomes imperative. However, industry faces serious challenges which acts as the bottleneck for the rollout of infrastructure. The timely identification and redressal of these issues is critical,” Tilak Raj Dua, director general of the Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (Dipa) said.

Dua was speaking at the second edition of the India Spectrum Management Conference organised by the ITU-APT Foundation of India (IAFI).

Further, the Delhi-based body said that the entire telecom operations and network rollout depend upon getting timely and affordable approvals from the authorities, and despite efforts by the government, such are hindering infrastructure rollouts at the last mile.

“The industry faces challenges in getting various approvals pertaining to Right of Way (RoW), access to street furniture, and electromagnetic (EMF) norms,” he said, adding that it his necessitates a collaborative role that Union and state governments and industry must play to overcome the existing challenge.

Recently, the telecom department (DoT) notified the Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2022 to fast track telecom infrastructure deployment and expansion but, according to the industry group, the adoption of these rules by the state agencies and central ministries remain to be seen.

The Centre has unveiled the National Master Plan or NMP that has given a major boost to robust digital infrastructure and including a unified portal for infrastructure approvals, cross-sector collaboration, and sharing common ducts, and uniform policy upto a district level.

The department has also launched ‘GatiShakti Sanchar’ portal for Right of way (RoW) approvals which serves as a central collaborative platform between multiple stakeholders, including Central and state governments, and Union Territories, local bodies, and service providers.

The government has also recently unveiled telecom sector reforms for wireless licensing that underlines the importance of spectrum and its management. It includes telecom tower clearances, resolution of signal interference in addition to spectrum policy, planning and assignment.

Dua further said that connectivity has a profound and far-ranging impact, and added that the catalytic and enabling role of connectivity for sustainable development is recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Internet offers significant economic benefits and the potential to enhance welfare for individuals throughout their lives. It enables new forms of communication, entertainment, expression, and collaboration. It enables access to services where traditional services are lacking, access to an enormous amount of knowledge, learning resources, and job opportunities,” he said.

In July this year, the Centre conducted a 5G spectrum sale across multiple bands.

The department has added new frequency bands to the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP) 2022 to enable seamless 5G services.

“Telecom department (DoT) is committed to spectrum allocation for economic benefits, and encourages spectrum sharing for a country’s strategy, as part of the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP),” Ashutosh Sharma, Director General – Telecom, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said.


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