Call drops in Delhi: 566 mobile towers have been sealed by Delhi by municipal corporations

The Delhi tower policy, 2010 was challenged by the telecom industry in Delhi High Court imposing issues such as exorbitant permission fee of Rs. 5 lakhs for 5 years only and Rs. 1 lakh per service.

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The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association recently said Delhi municipal corporations have sealed 566 mobile towers out of 11,500 total mobile towers in Delhi despite depositing a fee of Rs 48 crore.

Call drops: 566 mobile towers have been sealed by Delhi by MCD

 

The association said that 1150 mobile tower sites are ready for deployment, but awaits permissions. This all together is impacting the overall ease of doing business, development of a robust telecom infrastructure and addressing the growing the data needs of customers.

The Delhi tower policy, 2010 was challenged by the telecom industry in Delhi High Court imposing issues such as exorbitant permission fee of Rs. 5 lakhs for 5 years only and Rs. 1 lakh per service provider for sharing and restriction on locations etc.

In January 2017, Delhi High Court referred mediation settlement was signed by the industry with the municipal corporations offering provisions such as deemed approval for 30 days, appointment of nodal officers, documentation as per DoT guidelines, 2013 and fee part was also renegotiated to Rs 1 lakh to 2 lakhs and revised guidelines to be issued in line with DoT advisory guidelines, 2013.

"Non-implementation of mediation settlement and lack of comprehensive tower policy in Delhi is creating knotty situations for the development of a robust telecom infrastructure," Tilak Raj Dua, director general of TAIPA, said.

After the notification of Delhi Tower policy date 2010, the Government of India has notified two enabling guidelines/rules for enabling seamless provisioning of telecom infrastructure i.e. DoT advisory guidelines, 2013 and Right of Way (RoW) rules, 2016. Most recent RoW rules, November 2016 offers salient features such as no restriction on the location of telecom towers, single window clearance mechanism, defined time-period for approvals, an appointment of Nodal officers, nominal administrative fees, and deemed approvals etc. extensively supporting the Digital India mission.

Dua said that "These avoidable delays in implementation of policies, notification of policies and suo-moto coercive actions on sealing the mobile towers leads to solemn issues such as slow internet speed, network congestion, and call drops etc. The overall regressive act impacts the ease of doing business and forms a misconception that the industry is not making adequate investments. There is an immediate need to notify a comprehensive mobile tower policy for enabling speedy installation of telecom infrastructure in Delhi in order to make a city a world-class super-fast internet metropolitan."

 

Today, Delhi alone has around 11,500 mobile towers and caters to more than 58 million wireless telecommunication subscribers. These towers are shared among TSPs with the average tenancy ratio of 2.2. It is imperative to mention that Delhi needs to double the tower count in the near future to address the growing need of data and making inception of newer technologies a practical equation, the association pointed out that.

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