Execution of new telecom policy real test to shape sector's future: TAIPA

The proposed telecom policy addresses issues of all players, but only its effective implementation will determine the growth of the sector, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) today said.

"It (telecom policy) is the first right step but the most critical part will be the on-ground implementation and alignment of state governments with central government's rulings and guidelines," TAIPA Director General TR Dua told PTI.

He said the draft policy addresses issues with regards to all stakeholders but its implementation will be the most critical part to shape up the sector and prepare the country for the future.

Telecom infrastructure companies, mainly mobile tower firms, continue to face challenge while rolling out networks despite central government notifying 'Right of Way (RoW) rules, which refer to norms for rolling out telecom infrastructure.

The draft National Digital Communications Policy, 2018 proposes to create a broadband readiness index for states and union territories that will help them attract investments and address RoW issues.

"The Indian telecom tower industry has been struggling through number of critical issues such as non-inclusion of IP-1s under RoW rules, November 2016, state tower policies not aligned with RoW rules," Dua said.

He said state governments and local bodies charge exorbitant and multiple fees and at various occasions the authorities under them take coercive action and often shut down mobile towers.

"In the last one year period ended December 2017 the tower industry could install only 21,000 mobile towers when it could have erected many more, had the challenges were addressed. Today, the mobile tower count stands at 4,61,000 across the nation," Dua said.

He said the draft policy seems to be forward looking and reformative as it addresses significant challenges of the tower industry by talking about accelerated RoW permissions with rationalisation of taxes and levies for telecom infrastructure.

"Now, we look forward to enabling rules and directives to reflect the intent of the policy as soon as possible," Dua said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)