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DoT secretary seeks speedy approval for network rollout permits in states

Rajaraman directed all the DoT field units to conduct monthly meetings with service providers to review the application approval process and pendency and also pursue with the state and municipal authorities.

Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman has called for speedy approvals for granting network rollout permissions across the country, and requested secretaries and representatives from states to facilitate the expeditious disposal of applications, an official statement said on Thursday.

Rajaraman directed all the DoT field units to conduct monthly meetings with service providers to review the application approval process and pendency and also pursue with the state and municipal authorities.

Telecom operators and infrastructure providers have repeatedly raised the issue of some state governments and local authorities are not aligned to the Right of Way Rule 2016 notified by the Centre.

In order to expedite approvals for the quick rollout of broadband across the country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) convened a meeting with state IT Secretaries and DoT officers from the head office and field unit, which was chaired by Rajaraman.

“During the meeting, Shri K Rajaraman emphasised that there should be no delay in grant of Right of Way permissions as it can become a major impediment in the growth of communication services. He stated that there is a direct correlation between low Broadband penetration and non-alignment of ROW rules in the same State/LSA,” the statement said.

The hassles in providing permission for telecom network rollout — which includes laying of optical fibres, installing mobile towers etc — can worsen the prospect of 5G services.

Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Director General SP Kochhar appreciated the initiatives of the telecom secretary to issue directions to the DoT field units to conduct monthly meetings with service providers to review the application approval process and pendency.

“This will be helpful to expedite the RoW permissions to the telecom industry and hence the realisation of targets set under the National Broadband Mission. This is a very positive move towards making India digitally more advanced,” Kochhar said.

Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA) Director-General TR Dua said the adoption of RoW Rules, November 2016 and implementation thereof in a consistent manner in all the states will not only streamline hassle-free Right of Way processes but will also result in effective and faster readiness of the states for contributing towards connected Digital India roadmap, encompassing programmes like smart cities and digital society.

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