Expedite RoW Permissions for Faster Broadband Rollout: Telecom Secretary

Hearing the concerns with Right of Way (RoW) permissions, the telecom secretary, K Rajaraman, emphasised that there should be no delay in RoW permissions to enable faster broadband rollout across the country. The telecom secretary has asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to conduct monthly meetings with the service providers for reviewing the application approval process and pendency.

Rajaraman said that delays in the grant of RoW permissions are acting as impediments to the growth of communication services. According to the telecom minister, there’s a direct correlation between the low broadband penetration and the non-alignment of RoW rules in the same state/SLA.

5G Could See Problems Worsening If Faster Approvals Not Granted

During a meeting between DoT, Ministry of Communications, and Government of India with the State IT Secretaries and DoT officers from head office and field units for expediting the approvals required for a quick broadband rollout of India; Rajaraman said that the problem could worsen with 5G in the near future.

5G would require much heavier broadband penetration and fiberisation, for which there is a need for expediting the approvals for RoW.

The telecom minister has directed all the DoT field units to conduct monthly meetings with the service providers to understand where they are stuck by reviewing their application approval process and pendency, along with communicating with the state/municipal authorities.

During the meeting, the state broadband authorities were also asked to oversee the alignment of the state policy with the Central RoW Rule – 2016.

The telcos have also voiced their opinion on the same issue, and if a faster approval can be given, it will not just be good for the telecom sector but for the entire nation as broadband penetration needs to grow quickly for every Indian to adopt a digital lifestyle and not get excluded from the future.

The telecom operators and vendors need to be able to lay optical fibre cables and install new towers for quick broadband rollout across India, and that is only possible if the state governments and local bodies provide necessary RoW approvals in time.


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