Updated: May 15, 2022 4:51:12 am
Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday said that legal backing for right of way (RoW) for telecom infrastructure projects will be put in place by December this year, as he launched the GatiShakti Sanchar portal that aims to accelerate approvals for laying of fibre and tower installations, ahead of the 5G roll-out in the country.
The GatiShakti Sanchar portal will enable centralised right of way (RoW) approvals for telecom infrastructure projects and can be used by industry players to apply for RoW approvals, including for 5G services.
The portal has been adopted by all central ministries, state governments and union territories, the Telecom Minister said.
He added that the current process for RoW approvals is handled administratively and giving it a legal backing would help officials at the local levels to approve RoW requests quicker, bring clarity on the fee structure and fix accountability.
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Vaishnaw also said that the portal has already brought down the time taken for such approvals from nearly 100 days to around 22, and legal backing would further bring that time down to close to a week.
“The timely disposal of RoW applications of various service and infrastructure providers shall enable speedy infrastructure creation which would be an enabler for timely rollout of 5G networks,” Vaishnaw said. The integration of the portal with the Geographic Information System (GIS) will also give state governments and various agencies added visibility into the optical fibre mesh and digital networks that are in place, he further said.
The launch of the portal comes on the heels of the draft policy guidelines to bring consistency in RoW-related procedures across states that were released in April. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), in the draft, has proposed a methodology for calculating RoW area, establishment of poles for the deployment of small cells, and usage of street furniture for the deployment of small cells, among other things.
The Centre also plans to link various other portals handled by railways, highways, and waterways, among others to the GatiShakti Sanchar portal,
“Work has already started on interlinking these portals and it should be completed in the next 3-4 months,” Vaishnaw said.
The portal, built by the Madhya Pradesh State Electronics Development Corporation, includes a dashboard for tracking applications, and has already received more than 50,000 RoW applications, out of which around 28,000 have been approved.
The industry has welcomed the portal. “The GatiShakti Sanchar portal is an important step towards making a robust mechanism to achieve the goal of ‘Broadband for All’, as envisaged in the National Digital Communication Policy, 2018,” said SP Kochhar, director general. Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
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